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French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel pledge to tackle Europe's economic issues together


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new French president Francois Hollande shakes hands after their joint press conference on May 15, 2012 in Berlin. Hollande met Merkel for their first talks on the debt crisis as Greece's future in the eurozone appears uncertain.



The French president Francois Hollande and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel have promised to tackle Europe's economic crisis and work to keep Greece in the eurozone.

The two met for talks in Berlin just hours after Hollande was sworn into office with a brief ceremony in Paris, the ABC's Europe correspondent says.

Voice of America quotes from a joint news conference held after the meeting, where Hollande reportedly said that he wanted to show that the friendship between the two countries is a constant.  Merkel insisted the two countries could work together with the common goal of developing Europe's economy.

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Hollande said "everything (that can promote growth) must be put on the table by everyone", according to the BBC. He said that would include the possibility of eurobonds, which would pool the debts of eurozone nations.  Germany has rejected the suggestion to date.

Associated Press explains that Hollande has criticized Merkel's austerity-led approach to the continent's debt troubles and called for more policies focused on boosting economic growth.  However, Merkel insisted that their difference's had been overstated: "We are aware of our responsibility, as Germany and France, for a good development in Europe. Carried by this spirit, I believe we will of course find solutions for the different problems."

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AFP said the leaders' talks were "overshadowed" by the news that Greece had failed to form a coalition government and would be forced to hold another round of elections in June. The news agency says that Merkel insisted both she and Hollande were committed to keeping Greece in the eurozone, saying they were prepared "to study the possibility of additional growth measures in Greece."

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