The Straits Times
Published on Nov 14, 2012

Hollande denies strains with Merkel, promises reforms


PARIS (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday denied strains with euro zone powerhouse Germany over the way to combat the debt crisis as he reviewed his first six months in power, marked by rising ire over France's flagging economy.

Addressing his biggest press conference since taking office in May, he also said France was committed to reforms to plug a multi-billion-euro deficit and bring it down to EU norms.

The Socialist leader said there was no rift with the right-wing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had openly backed Mr Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of the presidential election.

Describing Franco-German relations as "good", Mr Hollande denied rumours of a chill between the eurozone's two top economies following reports in the German media that Berlin was worried that Paris would fail to push through decisive economic reforms.