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Merkel Returns the Favor to Sarkozy in Plan to Support Campaign

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will support President Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential campaign, reciprocating his electoral backing for her three years ago.

Merkel, who was asked after a European Union summit whether a Sarkozy defeat would knock Franco-German crisis measures off course, made reference to a 2009 campaign event at Berlin’s Sony Center. There, Sarkozy campaigned for her along with youth members of her Christian Democratic Union.

“Nicolas Sarkozy supported me back then in an election campaign -- if you remember, in the Sony Center, the big event with the Young Union,” Merkel told reporters in Brussels late yesterday. “So I’ll give back to him what he offered to me in the same way. This has nothing to do with being concerned, it’s simply a common practice between our two countries.”

Socialist challenger Francois Hollande is leading Sarkozy in polls ahead of the two-round presidential elections in April and May. Asked whether she was concerned that France wouldn’t be able to ratify new fiscal rules before an election could unseat the incumbent, Merkel said the EU functions best based on the principal of “continuity.”

“I’m actually quite relaxed if one asks about how the presidential election will turn out,” Merkel said. “Europe wouldn’t function if everything we’ve decided were thrown into question with every change of government.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Brussels at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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