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France's new finance minister Sapin to meet German counterpart

Published on Apr 4, 2014 10:59 PM

BERLIN (AFP) - France's new Finance Minister Michel Sapin will meet his German counterpart in Berlin on Monday, a German finance ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

European and bilateral issues will be the focus of the talks with Germany's Mr Wolfgang Schaeuble, with a joint press conference planned afterwards.

But the visit will come days after Mr Sapin, who was appointed on Wednesday in a government reshuffle, said he would discuss the "pace" of deficit reduction during talks with EU partners - seen as a sign that Paris wants more time to cut spending amid a prolonged economic downturn.

Mr Schaeuble, who with Chancellor Angela Merkel is a strong champion of budgetary rigour in the 18-nation euro zone, said on German TV late on Thursday that France "remains a strong country" despite its "difficult" political situation.

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