European Governments Deny Plan to Ostracize Socialist Hollande

France, Germany and Spain rejected a Der Spiegel report that they have made an agreement to ostracize Socialist presidential challenger Francois Hollande.

The German magazine said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had all agreed not to host Hollande before France’s presidential election because of his demands to renegotiate a European Union budget treaty if he’s elected. The magazine didn’t say where it obtained the information.

“Obviously not,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said when asked on Europe 1 radio if such an accord existed. “He’s taking on airs. The idea that these people would spend their time on the phone talking about him is absurd.”

Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin today that the report was “false.” Rajoy told reporters in Madrid that he’d never said he wouldn’t receive Hollande, even if he’d rather see President Nicolas Sarkozy re- elected because they are part of the same political family.

With less than two months to go before the first round of French elections,Sarkozy trailed Hollande by 7.5 percentage points in an LH2 poll of 971 registered voters for Yahoo! that was published yesterday.

Talking on I-tele television today, Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry said Merkel didn’t want to receive Hollande after he asked for a meeting. She didn’t say when Hollande made the request. The Socialist front-runner made a one-day visit to Berlin in December where he attend a meeting of the opposition SPD party and gave an hour-long speech.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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