Merkel, Sarkozy meet ahead of EU summit

10th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met for talks on Friday expected to be dominated by the eurozone crisis.

The meeting in Freiburg, southwest Germany, also attended by French and German ministers, comes a week ahead of an EU summit at which the bloc's 27 leaders are due to sign off on a new permanent crisis mechanism.

Sarkozy and Merkel, who have not always seen eye to eye, were due to hold a news conference at around 1200 GMT.

Germany and France this week both rejected a proposal to create joint eurozone bonds, an idea which its supporters say would help countries under pressure raise funds.

Merkel has said this would be in breach of the EU's governing treaties and would weaken countries' resolve to fix their public finances, something she sees as vital to overcoming the crisis.

Ireland last month became the second eurozone member after Greece to seek a bailout, tapping a temporary 750-billion-euro (one-trillion-dollar) temporary mechanism set up by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

There are fears that rising borrowing costs might force other countries in the 16-nation eurozone, most notably Portugal and Spain, to follow suit.

© 2010 AFP

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