German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she won’t shy away from clashing with French President Francois Hollande at a European Union summit on May 23 that’s the next attempt to stem the debt crisis.
“There is the continuity of good cooperation,” Merkel told reporters in Chicago today after she and Hollande attended the Group of Eight and NATO summits in the U.S. “That doesn’t exclude differing positions. These may very well arise in the context of the European discussions.”
Hollande intends to discuss joint euro-area bonds at the summit in Brussels, where “everything will be on the table,” French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in Berlin today. Merkel opposes joint debt issuance, saying the differences in bond yields between euro countries are incentives for weaker nations to overhaul their economies and boost competitiveness.
With Greece at risk of leaving the euro area and ways to spur economic growth on the EU’s agenda, Merkel and Hollande must build a working relationship, after the French Socialist won elections on a campaign pledge to blunt the German-led austerity drive for Europe. Merkel didn’t specify on which points there might be conflict at the EU summit.
“The point is to find sensible solutions,” she said. “That’s how I work and that’s also the feeling I got from the French president.”
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