Sunday, May 27, 2018

Hollande, Merkel pledge to seek growth for Europe

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande agreed Tuesday to spend the coming weeks discussing proposals for generating economic growth in Europe, a first step to bridging their differences over how to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.

Hollande, a Socialist who took office Tuesday, has criticized Merkel's austerity-led approach to the continent's financial troubles and called for more policies geared toward boosting economic growth as opposed to just cutting government spending. During his election campaign, he called for the European budget-discipline pact pushed by Merkel to be renegotiated.

Hollande said after his first meeting with Merkel that "everything must be put on the table by everyone" in Europe that could promote growth. Asked if he is still demanding a renegotiation of the existing fiscal compact, he said he would be able to answer the question "at the end of this work."

An informal meeting of European leaders on May 23 will be followed by a summit at the end of June.

"It will be very important that Germany and France present their ideas together at this summit, and we have talked about the preparation," Merkel said.

"I am for budget seriousness," Hollande said. But, he added, "I am for growth" because that is the only way to reduce debt and cut deficits.

Merkel, who has talked increasingly about growth this year but has argued that it needs to be generated by structural reform instead of relying on greater government spending, argued that her differences with Hollande have been overplayed. And asked if she was afraid of Hollande's campaign pledges, she replied: "I am seldom afraid."

Hollande said he wants to work with Germany "for the good of Europe" and that he envisions "a balanced and respectful relationship."

"We are aware of our responsibility, as Germany and France, for a good development in Europe," Merkel said. "Carried by this spirit, I believe we will of course find solutions for the different problems."

Greece faces new election: Greece headed into a month of political uncertainty after power-sharing talks collapsed Tuesday, triggering new elections that could determine whether the country retains its tenuous position in Europe's currency. No date has been set for the elections, but they will have to be held by mid June — the month in which Greece must make more spending cuts to ensure it meets the terms of its international bailout. A caretaker government will be appointed until then.

Comments

1 new Ebola death confirmed in Congo, bringing total to 12

Congo's health ministry says there has been another death of a confirmed case of Ebola, bringing the number of fatalities to 12
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

Lebanon's LGBT community has made striking gains over the past decade, but an attempt to hold Pride celebrations last week sparked a backlash by authorities
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

Lebanon LGBT scene empowered despite crackdown

Lebanon's LGBT community has made striking gains over the past decade, but an attempt to hold Pride celebrations last week sparked a backlash by authorities
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 6:26 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 6:26 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
German nationalists plan Berlin march, face counter-protests

German nationalists plan Berlin march, face counter-protests

Supporters of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party are gathering for a march in central Berlin against Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, while opponents are mobilizing for counter-protests
Updated: 2 hours ago
Madrid to continue Champions League victory party with fans

Madrid to continue Champions League victory party with fans

Real Madrid will continue celebrating a record-extending 13th European club title with its fans back in the Spanish capital
Updated: 2 hours ago

AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT

AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT
Updated: 2 hours ago

Abbas doctor says Palestinian leader to stay in hospital

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' doctor says the 83-year-old is staying in the hospital, abruptly reversing a previous announcement that he would be discharged
Updated: 2 hours ago

Abbas doctor says Palestinian leader to stay in hospital

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' doctor says the 83-year-old is staying in the hospital, abruptly reversing a previous announcement that he would be discharged
Updated: 2 hours ago

Akiyoshi wins Mizuno Open to qualify for British Open

Shota Akiyoshi of Japan fires a 2-under-par 70 to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for the British Open
Updated: 2 hours ago