x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Germany and France team up over debt

German chancellor, Angela Merkel, says her country and France plan to work together to develop proposals for ways to improve economic coordination within the EU.

BERLIN // The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said her country and France planned to work together to develop proposals for ways to improve economic coordination within the European Union, as the continent struggles to overcome its debt crisis and generate growth.

Ms Merkel said after meeting the French president, Francois Hollande, yesterday that the countries were "aware of our great responsibility" to end the crisis and make growth possible.

She said they were convinced competitiveness was hugely significant and planned to come up with proposals by May.

It comes as Germany and France marked the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Elysee Treaty, which enshrinedtheir post-war reconciliation with a joint Cabinet meeting and a joint session of their parliaments.

Ms Merkel, a conservative, and Mr Hollande, a socialist, have had an uneasy relationship since the he took office eight months ago, vowing to reverse German-backed austerity policies aimed at shoring up the euro.

But they rejected the suggestion that relations between Berlin and Paris were strained, highlighting the steps they have taken together to shore up the single-currency bloc.

"It may be our best-kept secret that the chemistry actually works," said Ms Merkel.

"If you look at the results, it's clear we're on the same wavelength," said Mr Hollande.

* Reuters, with additional reporting by Associated Press