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Merkel plans week of eurozone talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks next week with the French foreign minister and Portugal’s prime minister on the eurozone debt crisis, a spokesman said Friday.

The meetings in Berlin with France’s Alain Juppe Monday and Thursday with premier Pedro Passos Coelho of debt-stricken Portugal will cover “current foreign policy and European policy issues,” the spokesman said.

Merkel is to sit down with her Slovenian counterpart, Borut Pahor, on Tuesday in Ljubljana as well as President Danilo Tuerk.

Germany and France, the political and economic heavyweights of the eurozone, have met frequently this month as the debt crisis rattled markets.

Juppe will also see his counterpart Guido Westerwelle while in the German capital.

Portugal received a 78-billion-euro ($110 billion) from the European Union and International Monetary Fund earlier this year and agreed in return to stringent budget measures to scale back state spending.

Tiny Slovenia, which is still recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis, has joined Germany in opposing a demand by Finland for collateral on loans to ailing Greece.