Sarkozy-Merkel talks cancelled: French embassy
Talks between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled for Monday in Berlin have been cancelled, the French embassy said, without offering further details.
The pair had been due to hold preparatory talks for a summit of European Union leaders on June 17 in Brussels, focusing mainly on the topic of European economic coordination.
The run-up to the planned talks had been marked by disagreements between the two European allies, following frequent clashes over multi-billion-euro (dollar) bailout packages for Greece and then the wider eurozone.
Paris had blamed Berlin for dragging its feet over a near trillion-dollar plan drawn up to prevent Greece's fiscal woes from spreading to other vulnerable countries, saying that it pushed up the price of the package.
French officials grumbled that in January, the rescue plan would have cost 15 billion euros versus the around 750 billion euros that were ultimately earmarked.
Moreover, when the plan was eventually agreed, Sarkozy announced to the press that it was "95 percent French," a claim that set off gnashing of teeth in Berlin.
Other rows over economic policy, notably a plea by French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde for Germany to reduce its reliance on exports and boost domestic demand to help the rest of the euro area, added to the tensions.
© 2010 AFP