Hollande praises Obama, Merkel

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iol pic wld FrancoisHollande REUTERS France's President Francois Hollande.

French President Francois Hollande offered words of praise for US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a magazine interview due out this weekend.

Hollande met Obama for the first time as president in May at the White House, soon after being elected and just ahead of his debut G8 summit.

“He is very constructive, very informed,” he said of Obama in an interview with the news weekly Marianne out on Saturday.

“But he is above all an American very conscious of the power of the United States,” he added.

The US president was aware of the need to launch growth in Europe to help the recovery of the US economy, he added.

Of Merkel, he said: “I quickly understood her personality: strong but not difficult.

“You know what she wants and she has a sense of compromise while at the same time maintaining her position.”

And he added: “Contrary to what has been reported, our relations are not bad.”

World markets are watching with interest to see how the relationship between Hollande, a centre-left advocate of growth, and Merkel, a centre-right defender of austerity, develops as the eurozone tries to tackle its debt crisis.

Hollande's conservative predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, formed such a strong working relationship with the German leader that they were collectively dubbed “Merkozy”. - AFP


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