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France 'not trying to shun Merkel': PM

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France 'not trying to shun Merkel': PM
Jean-Marc Ayrault
09:43 CEST+02:00

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Friday that France and Germany should work "hand-in-hand for a solution to pull Europe out of crisis," and called for stronger contacts with Berlin.

Ayrault told Europe 1 radio that resolving the chronic eurozone debt crisis "will need a stronger dialogue than that which has taken place so far."  

Ayrault said there was "absolutely not" a coalition being established to isolate German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who defends austerity measures which France wants loosened in favour of growth stimulus.

The French premier warned that isolating Merkel would be "a bad route" to take, a day after France and Germany traded barbed comments in relation to the crisis.

A strong Franco-German partnership has been considered key to the eurozone's progress in the past.

On Thursday, Ayrault urged Germany not to "let itself go with simplistic formulas" after Merkel warned that Germany would not accept "facile solutions" and a "mediocre" approach to resolving the bloc's deficit and debt problems.

French President François Hollande met in Rome on Thursday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who complained at a joint press conference that "not enough progress" had been made to resolve the crisis.

French opposition leader Jean-François Cope told the French news television i-TELE Friday that Hollande "challenges Germany each day" even though Europe was in "a complete crisis."

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