Chirac juggles meetings with German leaders

11th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 11 (AFP) - Outgoing German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will have a working dinner in Paris with French president Jacques Chirac on Friday to prepare for an informal EU summit in London later this month, Chirac's office said.

PARIS, Oct 11 (AFP) - Outgoing German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will have a working dinner in Paris with French president Jacques Chirac on Friday to prepare for an informal EU summit in London later this month, Chirac's office said.

"In the context of preparations for the informal meeting of EU heads of state and government on October 27 in London, the president will hold a working dinner for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Friday," a spokesman said.

Angela Merkel, who has been designated Germany's next chancellor, has been informed of the dinner, the Elysée palace said. The Christian Democrat leader will not take office till November, and Schroeder is to represent Germany at the summit at Hampton Court, on the outskirts of London.

Chirac and Schroeder had planned to meet on September 6 to discuss the summit, but the talks were postponed because of Chirac's hospitalisation with a vascular disorder.

Hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the summit is to focus on social issues and the challenge of globalisation.

Chirac, meanwhile, has expressed his confidence that ties with Berlin would strengthen under the country's incoming conservative leader Angela Merkel.

Chirac, who forged a close political alliance, notably in Europe, with the outgoing Schroeder, invited Merkel to Paris "as soon as possible," his Elysée office said.

Chirac rang Merkel to congratulate her after Germany's two biggest parties, her Christian Democrats and Schroeder's Social Democrats, agreed to form a coalition government with her at its head following an inconclusive general election.

The president "reaffirmed to her the priority he attaches to ties between France and Germany," an Elysée spokesman said.

Chirac also contacted Schroeder, who is stepping down after seven years in power. He hailed his commitment to Franco-German relations and "expressed his confidence in Germany's ability to continue on the reform path" begun by the outgoing German leader.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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