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Chancellor Merkel insists Germany's relationship with EU neighbors remains strong

May 16, 2013

At a recent panel discussion held at Berlin's Finance Ministry, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that 2013 will be a decisive year for the European Union (EU). She also affirmed Germany's desire to see the United Kingdom remain a part of the EU and continued strong relations with its neighbor France. 

"France, as the second-biggest economy in the European union, is of existential importance," said Merkel according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The German leader went to on to describe her relationship with France's Socialist President Francois Hollande as "good," and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble refrained from criticism of France's economic policies, despite the fact that the nation had recently announced it's economy's entry into a double-dip recession. 

The conciliatory tone from German officials follows weeks of reported tension between the two nations, particularly following the leak of a French socialist party document that described Merkel as selfish and only concerned about Germans with significant savings.

Michael Meister, a key figure in Merkel's Christian Democratic party has  been more pointed in his recent comments about the economic situation in the EU's second and third largest economies, France and Italy, reports the Daily Mail

'Italy and France have structural problems to resolve and not economic problems," Meister said, according to the Mail. "They can't wait any longer. More time won't relieve the problem. It'll only make it worse."

Election season is starting to heat up in Germany. Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats could face an upset by a coalition of smaller parties in Germany, according to Slate.

National elections will take place in September of 2013.

People interested in German politics or the economic future of the EU can pick up an international calling card and discuss the intimate inner workings with those who have a first-hand view of the action in Germany. . 

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