The Straits Times
Published on Oct 18, 2012

Merkel, Hollande differ sharply going into EU summit, clashes erupt in Greece


BRUSSELS (AFP) - France and Germany differed sharply on how to tackle the bloc's crisis going into a European Union (EU) summit on Thursday, as violence broke out in Greece amid protests against fresh spending cuts.

Police in Athens used tear gas to disperse protesters as a general strike brought transportation across the country to a virtual halt.

An elderly man died, apparently from heart failure, during one demonstration while five people including two policemen were injured in sporadic clashes, Greek media said.

Meanwhile Paris and Berlin appeared set for a clash on whether to continue to tighten further the fiscal austerity policy the bloc has been following, or to push forward with measures that help euro zone states cope with the crisis.