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German Chancellor to meet France’s Hollande before key European summit

French President Francois Hollande, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a joint press conference with Italian Premier Mario Monti and Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy at the end of a meeting in Rome, Friday, June 22, 2012.

Andrew Medichini/AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet French President François Hollande late on Wednesday ahead of a key European summit, a spokesman for the German government told Reuters on Saturday.

"The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the European Council on Thursday and Friday," the spokesman said.

Mr. Hollande wants next week's European summit to agree on more than just a growth package before he is ready to ratify the bloc's fiscal pact, a French diplomatic source said on Friday.

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Mr. Hollande, who won backing from the leaders of Germany, Italy and Spain in Rome on Friday for his growth proposals, also wants an EU-wide agreement on progress towards banking sector integration and other financial stability measures, the source said.

On Friday, Ms. Merkel threw her support behind a growth package worth €130-billion, equivalent to 1 per cent of European Union gross domestic product, following talks with other European leaders on reviving the continent's economy.

Asked if an EU deal to invest 1 per cent of the bloc's GDP to restart growth would be enough for France to ratify the budget discipline pact agreed earlier this year, the French diplomatic source said: "No. We would need more. The growth element is essential, but so is the financial stability element."

Mr. Hollande is due to meet the head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi and France's Central Bank Governor Christian Noyer on Monday.

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