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Europe In Crisis Talks As German Economy Grows

IMF head Christine Lagarde
European leaders and the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have held fresh talks on the eurozone crisis, amid news of sustained growth last year in the German economy, Europe's largest.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with the IMF's Christine Lagarde in Paris. Lagarde made no comment after her meeting with Sarkozy and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, held talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Berlin.

Monti has called for more concrete support from the European Union and Germany in return for the tough austerity measures Italy has adopted.

After the meeting, Merkel said she had "great respect" for Italy's reform plan.

Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, triggered fears that low growth combined with high debt could force it to seek a bailout like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.

Meanwhile, official data published on January 11 showed that Germany's gross domestic product expanded by 3 percent in 2011, although the eurozone crisis began to hamper growth in the fourth quarter.

compiled from agency reports