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ANGELA MERKEL

Merkel defends support for Sarkozy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman on Monday defended her support for French President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election, arguing his Socialist rival had also come to Berlin to back the German opposition.

Merkel defends support for Sarkozy

“I wish to recall that the Socialist candidate (Francois Hollande) intervened at the SPD (Social Democratic Party) congress and repeated several times in his speech that Germany should elect a new government in 2013,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.

“At the time we didn’t complain. And why would we have done? It’s completely legitimate.”

“In the same way, nobody should complain that the leader (of the conservative party) CDU is taking a position in favour of a political friend,” Seibert added.

Hollande, who is the frontrunner in opinion polls to win the French presidency, addressed Germany’s centre-left opposition SPD on December 5 in the German capital.

Seibert also denied a media report that several conservative European leaders had struck a pact to snub Hollande because of his declared intention to renegotiate a budgetary discipline pact.

“Such an alliance does not exist,” he told reporters.  

The right-wing leaders of Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain have all already denied the report in German weekly Der Spiegel that they had a verbal pact not to meet Hollande in the run-up to April’s presidential poll.

Merkel currently has no meeting scheduled with Hollande, Seibert added.

Her active support for Sarkozy’s re-election campaign is a personal engagement as leader of Germany’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and not as the nation’s chancellor, her spokesman has said.

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ANGELA MERKEL

Merkel and Macron to meet for dinner in Berlin on Friday

French President Emmanuel Macron will have dinner with Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday - the first time this year the German chancellor has received a foreign leader in person, her spokeswoman said.

Merkel and Macron to meet for dinner in Berlin on Friday
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Pool Getty Images/AP | Leon Neal

The working dinner at the chancellery will focus on “European policy issues”, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said on Monday.

Talks will focus on the “coordination between Germany and France” ahead of an EU summit in Brussels on June 24-25, she said.

The dinner meeting comes after G7 leaders gathered in England at the weekend for their first in-person summit in almost two years.

VIDEO: Watch Merkel’s funniest momentsĀ 

World leaders were also meeting in Brussels on Monday for the first NATO summit with US President Joe Biden.

Subjects on the agenda included how to deal with China’s rise and confronting an emboldened Russia, ahead of a meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

At the EU summit, leaders are due to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, economic recovery, migration and external relations, including with Turkey and Russia.

At an online Franco-German council of ministers in May, Macron paid tribute to the German chancellor, who is bowing out of politics this year after 16 years in power.

“This last council allows me to say how much the Franco-German relationship owes to your commitment, your willingness to take action, sometimes your patience with us, and your ability to listen,” Macron said.

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