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Hollande, Merkel Hold Talks In Berlin


Newly elected French President Francois Hollande arrives at the Elysee Palace for the handover ceremony on May 15.

Newly elected French President Francois Hollande arrives at the Elysee Palace for the handover ceremony on May 15.

France’s new president, Francois Hollande, has met in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel hours after his inauguration and a harrowing trip that featured a direct lightning strike on his airplane.

At a joint news conference after the talks, Merkel said the talks were dominated by Europe's economic situation and Greece's political crisis.

She said that both France and Germany want Greece to stay in the eurozone.

Hollande’s journey to the German capital was delayed after his plane was hit by lightning and had to return to Paris to be swapped for another.

Hollande, the country's first Socialist president in 17 years, took over from his right-wing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy earlier in the day.

In his inauguration speech, he called for "a compromise" over the German-led focus on austerity and said he wanted to take Europe down a "new path."

He named close aide Jean-Marc Ayrault as prime minister.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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