Merkel acts out charm offensive with Hollande

Julian Harris
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GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel joined French President Francois Hollande for dinner in Paris last night, in a bid to patch up relations ahead of today’s crunch EU summit over the future of the Eurozone.

Merkel has appeared at loggerheads with some Eurozone leaders, including Hollande, who are more keen to introduce debt sharing measures to mitigate the growing crisis.

German MPs from Merkel’s coalition had been assured this week that their leader would prevent the formation of eurobonds – one form of debt sharing – for as long as she lives.

But last night Merkel and Hollande put on a show of friendship for the cameras. “I say we need more Europe and I think we are in agreement there,” Merkel said.

“We need a Europe that functions effectively, markets are looking for this, and a Europe where countries help each other.”

Hollande added to the cordial tone by highlighting that both he and Merkel are seeking deeper monetary union in Europe.

Nonetheless, earlier in the day the German chancellor had again seemed stubborn over the proposals, when addressing parliament in Berlin.

“I fear that at the summit we will talk too much about all these ideas for joint liability and too little about improved controls and structural measures,” Merkel said, insisting that she will not lumber German taxpayers with an even greater burden of responsibility for the euro’s troubled member states.

But EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn yesterday said that short-term rescue measures would be necessary.