Merkel Cites ‘New Stage’ With Hollande, Moving to Tackle Crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was beginning a “new stage” with French President Francois Hollande as the two leaders renew their efforts to overcome the debt crisis.

Merkel, who was sworn in for a third term yesterday, made her first visit abroad to Paris a day before she meets other leaders at a European Union summit in Brussels. She’ll lead efforts there to reach an agreement on a banking union to overcome the four-year-old European debt turmoil.

“Our policies have shown progress, but we’re not yet over the hill,” Merkel said alongside Hollande. “We have to move in such a way that not only does such a crisis not repeat itself, but that we make Europe secure from crisis.”

Accompanied by her new foreign minister, Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Merkel held talks with Hollande after yesterday urging EU finance ministers to agree this week on a bank-failure plan for the beleaguered euro area.

Hollande said that Merkel was “essential” in finding a compromise on banking union that shielded European taxpayers.

“The December summit will allow us to settle some important issues, especially the banking union, where we have made great progress” Hollande said. He noted Merkel’s new four-year term overlaps with the 3 1/2 years left in his presidency.

Merkel’s visit to Paris after being sworn in follows German post-World War II tradition. She made a similar trip the day after she was first sworn in November 2005, meeting with then-President Jacques Chirac.

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