Merkel preps EU presidency with Denmark jaunt

19th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 December 2006, Copenhagen (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a brief visit Tuesday to neighbouring Denmark for talks with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

19 December 2006

Copenhagen (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a brief visit Tuesday to neighbouring Denmark for talks with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

During her stopover, Merkel also met with Queen Margrethe.

The Danish and German heads of government touched on Germany's upcoming European Union presidency, including plans to restart discussions on the failed EU constitution that has been on hold since voters in France and the Netherlands rejected it in 2005.

Germany takes over the EU presidency from Finland on January 1.

Another item discussed was a bridge across the Fehmarnbelt between Denmark and northern Germany. The belt is some 20 kilometres wide.

The project was estimated to cost some 6.5 billion dollars. A bridge would according to Danish politicians be likely eligible to receive some EU funding as it would form part of a pan-European transport network.

"From the Danish side we are ready to make a decision but we respect the German need for extra investigations," Rasmussen told reporters.

The German government would likely complete its calculations during February or March next year.

Merkel said "we are investigating models to finance it," adding that the bridge had be "viable."

The two countries have discussed the project for several years but have yet to agree on funding.

After the talks, Merkel flew to the Finnish capital Helsinki where she was slated to meet with President Tarja Halonen and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, who hands over the EU presidency baton.

DPA

Subject: German news

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