Belfast Telegraph

Sarkozy to have fresh EU talks with Merkel

France's Nicolas Sarkozy will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday for talks likely to centre on new rules to enforce budget discipline across the European Union.

The two leaders are anxious to flesh out a plan agreed at a December summit by all EU members except Britain for a new treaty to forge closer fiscal integration, as Europe battles to stem a sovereign eurozoen debt crisis.

The French president's office announced the upcoming meeting but gave no further details.

Finance ministers from the EU's 27 members will meet on January 23 before their leaders hold a summit a week later.

They will be under intense pressure to find a definitive solution to the crisis which threatens the survival of the single currency.

Italy's prime minister, Mario Monti, who is still battling to shore up confidence in the Italian economy, will also meet the French and German leaders this month as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron.

All EU leaders except Mr Cameron agreed at an emergency summit on December 9 to draft a new treaty that would implement tougher rules on budget discipline.