Angela Merkel visits France after re-election

Paris, Dec 19: German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Paris on Wednesday to meet French President Francois Hollande after being re-elected for a third term, with the aim of "starting now a new step" in relations between the two countries.

The first foreign trip of her third term as chancellor emphasized "the special importance of Franco-German relations", Xinhua quoted Merkel as saying at a news conference in the Elysee Palace after meeting Hollande.

Germany and France have already "worked together very closely in recent months" and "we can start now a new step", she said, adding that the two countries will hold a summit in February next year to deepen bilateral relations.

Germany and France have already worked together very closely in recent months.

"We all want to let Europe step forward and make it a strong continent of the world," she said ahead of a European Union (EU) summit due to take place Thursday and Friday in Brussels, where European leaders will discuss a planned banking union and France's military mission in Africa.

Hollande congratulated Merkel on her re-election and the formation of the new German government.

"We have a common horizon, which should become a common agenda," he said, "because Europe needs the relationship between France and Germany, a relationship of trust, a relationship strong and a relationship open".

On Tuesday, Merkel was re-elected in a vote in Germany's lower house of parliament for a third term. Her coalition government will lead the country for the next four years.


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