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Merkel sends stern warning to Hollande

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Photo: DPA
12:22 CEST+02:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has attacked French presidential candidate François Hollande in the middle of France's presidential election, warning him that the EU's new Fiscal Compact was not up for discussion.

Merkel and fellow conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy have a close political relationship and were leading powers in agreeing on the strict fiscal pact to help troubled parts of the eurozone.

The compact was signed in March by 25 of the 27 EU member states, and Merkel told German media organisation WAZ on Thursday that even if Socialist Party leader Hollande wins the election, the pact was “not up for negotiation.”

Merkel said that although growth was important for Europe, it was not as vital as solid financial security. She admitted she was concerned that if Hollande won the election, other countries would withdraw their signatures.

Sarkozy’s main opponent took to French prime-time television on Thursday evening to say that many of the EU member states were waiting for his party to be elected so changes could be made to the pact.

“Germany is not going to make the decisions for all of Europe,” he announced.

"Lots of countries today are waiting for France's decision, because we aren't any old country in Europe, we're a leading country in Europe," he said, adding that what France does could considerably change how the EU handles the eurozone’s financial woes.

One of the pillars of Hollande's campaign has been to call for the pact to be renegotiated and he has vowed to veto it if he considers that it contains insufficient measures for growth.

Hollande beat Sarkozy in the first round of the election and he could win the presidency in the second round on May 6.

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Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert talked to reporters on Friday following Thursday's media squabble, and said that, "the federal government and the chancellor will work well and reliably" with whoever wins in France.

"That is the nature of the particular French and German partnership and friendship," he added.

DPA/AFP/The Local/jcw

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