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Germany and France commit to closer ties

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Germany and France commit to closer ties
Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande. Photo: DPA
08:00 CET+01:00
Germany and France are to strengthen ties by co-operating more on foreign policy and adopting a unified stance in EU negotiations, it emerged following a meeting of the countries' foreign ministers on Tuesday.

The two foreign ministers used Tuesday's talks to breathe new life into bilateral ties after Europe's financial crisis exposed major differences in approach to budgetary discipline and growth.

"We must take advantage of the situation: France and Germany both have three years ahead of them without any national elections," French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said after the meeting.

Fabius also indicated that the countries would co-operate more closely in economic and defence policy, as we well as on tackling climate change.

The two leaders are planning a joint visit to Georgia and Moldova, with which the EU is hoping to co-operate on energy matters. 

Signs have emerged in recent days of France and Germany taking a step towards easing friction.

Berlin warmly welcomed President Francois Hollande's "social democratic" reforms announced last week to spur the beleaguered French economy, while Germany has offered logistical support to the French operation in the Central African Republic.

After speaking by phone on Saturday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has visited Paris three times in the last two weeks, and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius were reportedly ready to examine concrete measures.

Steinmeier, a Social Democrat in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's left-right "grand coalition" government, told a Sunday newspaper that Europe could not leave France alone in its bid to restore order in the strife-torn Central African Republic.

Last week he also praised France's "courageous" re-orientation of its economic policy.

READ MORE: 'Merkel and Hollande' in cosy breakfast summit

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