• Germany's news in English
 

Merkel, Hollande to meet before EU summit

Published: 22 Nov 2012 16:08 GMT+01:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel would be meeting with President Francois Hollande at 5:15 pm, before the Brussels talks. The office of French leader confirmed.

But a senior government source in Berlin said he did not expect Europe's power couple to go into the summit with a "formal common position."

The summit, beginning late Thursday and already slated to stretch into the weekend, promises to expose deep rifts in a European Union already mired in economic crisis.

But another government source in Berlin, who spoke on condition of anonymity, sought to play down the importance of striking a deal at these talks.

"The federal government is well prepared and is going with the purpose of contributing to a deal," this source said.

"If it turns out in the process of the talks on Thursday and Friday that it has to be a two-step process, then this is not a drama," he added. Berlin was hoping for a "realistic" ceiling on the seven-year budget, but would not be drawn on concrete figures.

But he also said that the austerity being implemented across Europe should also be taken into account when negotiating how much the EU should receive from its members.

"For us it is important that the EU budget can make a contribution to budgetary consolidation," this source said.

"We are negotiating over an EU budget in a very unusual situation in which there is a lot of pressure on member states' budgets and this must play a role in the negotiations," he added.

The talks were likely to pit rich countries like Germany and Britain, which pay in most to the EU budget, against poorer countries mainly from the south and east, which rely heavily on European funds.

All 27 countries would have a veto in the negotiations and several have threatened to wield it if their demands are not met, prompting Merkel on Wednesday to raise the spectre of a new summit next year.

As Europe's biggest economy and cash cow, Germany pays most into the EU pot both in net and real terms.

And Berlin has joined a group of eight countries, led by Britain, calling for spending cuts, although this group is far from united on how deep the EU budget should be slashed.

Lined up against these countries is a group of poorer nations – net recipients of so-called cohesion funds designed to help less affluent regions of Europe catch up with the rest.

The source noted that such budget negotiations usually go down to the wire and that leaders have in fact until the beginning of 2014 to clinch a deal.

The EU was "well within the timing framework" required to get an agreement eventually, the source said.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Auschwitz bookkeeper' trial nears verdict
Oskar Groening, the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz'. Photo: DPA

'Auschwitz bookkeeper' trial nears verdict

A former SS officer known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz" and a woman who survived the Nazi death camp delivered wrenching testimony in a courtroom on Wednesday as his historic trial neared a verdict. READ  

Assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
A photo of a Volkswagen assembly line, not related to the incident. Photo: DPA.

Assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen

A worker was setting up a robot at a Volkswagen factory when the machine grabbed him and pressed him against a metal slab, causing lethal injuries. READ  

Greece crisis
Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble
Pro-EU Greeks demonstrate outside the Athens parliament on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Wednesday crisis-hit Greece was sending mixed signals in debt talks and called on its government to "clarify its position" before negotiations with creditors can resume. READ  

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave
Could this be July in North Rhine-Westphalia? Photo: DPA

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a weather warning for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Wednesday predicting 5 to 10 cm of snow and winds of up to 60 km/h. READ  

Analysis
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
Angela Merkel faces a battery of microphones and cameras at a eurozone summit in Brussels on June 22nd. Photo: DPA

How German media shaped the Greece crisis

It's often said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the one person who truly matters when it comes to how the eurozone deals with Greece. But how much freedom does 'Mutti' really have in the face of the public and the media? READ  

Women trade punches over neglected dog poo
'This is not a dog toilet.' Photo: DPA

Women trade punches over neglected dog poo

Bergisch Gladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, hometown of supermodel Heide Klum, was once linked in Germans' minds with the catwalk. But now it is just as infamous for a dog walk, after two women came to blows over a mound of pooch poo. READ  

Referee costs Germany dear against USA
Head coach Silvia Neid (r) with Celia Sasic (l) on the bench. Photo: DPA

Referee costs Germany dear against USA

Germany coach Silvia Neid said she found the referee's decision-making 'sad' in her country's 2-0 semi-final defeat to the USA in the Women's World Cup in Montreal on early Wednesday morning. READ  

Train strikes
Train drivers and Bahn bury the hatchet
Three ICE (intercity) trains stand in a siding. Photo: DPA

Train drivers and Bahn bury the hatchet

The Train Drivers' Union (GDL) and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have finally agreed to end their dispute over drivers' work conditions, offering hope that nine months of rail chaos has finally come to an end. READ  

European heatwave
Keep cool and stay safe in the July heatwave
A couple leaping into an open-air pool in Freiburg. Photo: DPA

Keep cool and stay safe in the July heatwave

Here's how to keep cool as the mercury soars during this week's heatwave in Germany. And don't forget your pets! READ  

Former judge to see NSA target list
Photo: DPA

Former judge to see NSA target list

The Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has chosen a former judge to examine lists of targets given to German spies by the Americans. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
Politics
Follow our LIVE blog as Europe holds breath over Greece crisis
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
National
German restaurants among world's best
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,949
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd