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Merkel and Hollande pledge unity

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande say they have agreed to discuss ways to generate economic growth in Europe.

After meeting in Berlin, the pair confirmed that they both want Greece to remain part of the eurozone.

Mr Hollande also pledged to work together with Germany "for the good of Europe".

Mr Hollande, a Socialist who has just taken office, has criticised Mrs Merkel's austerity-led approach to the eurozone debt crisis and called for more growth-based efforts.

During his election campaign, he called for a renegotiation of a budget-discipline pact which Mrs Merkel pushed for the continent.

Mr Hollande said after his first meeting with the German leader that "everything must be put on the table by everyone" that could promote growth.

Asked whether he is still demanding a renegotiation of the fiscal compact, Mr Hollande said he would be able to answer the question "at the end of this work".

An informal meeting of European leaders on May 23 will be followed by a summit at the end of June.

"It will be very important that Germany and France present their ideas together at this summit, and we have talked about the preparation," Mrs Merkel said.

"I am for budget seriousness," Mr Hollande said, going on to add: "I am for growth," because that is the only way he sees to reduce debt and cut deficits.

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