Merkel, Hollande Press To Keep Eurozone Together
French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed their desire to keep the eurozone together on Tuesday in key talks just hours after France's new leader was inaugurated, Agence France-Presse reported. With all eyes on their first-ever talks, the two leaders also vowed that the two European powerhouses were aware of their responsibilities and ready to help find solutions to the eurozone crisis. Hollande, the newly inaugurated French Socialist, arrived late for his first talks with Merkel after his plane was apparently struck by lightning and had to return to Paris where he changed aircraft. Hanging over the meeting was the grim news from Athens, which is now set to hold another round of elections likely on June 17 after efforts to form a government after inclusive polls foundered, setting up yet another month of brinkmanship at the crippled heart of the eurozone. But the eurozone's two biggest economies want Greece to stay in the single currency, Merkel said a joint press conference with Hollande. Paris and Berlin were prepared "to study the possibility of additional growth measures in Greece" if Athens said they needed them, she added. Hollande for his part called for "balanced" and "respectful" relations with Germany, while adding he was prepared to put "everything on the table" at an informal EU summit next week, including eurobonds, a point of friction with the Germans. The anti-austerity message sent by Greek voters has made the future of the deal for a massive EU-IMF bailout to rescue Greece's finances uncertain. International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde raised the possibility on Tuesday that Greece could leave the currency union in the clearest sign yet that leaders are preparing the ground for the exit. Read more.