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Germany

‘Chancellor’ Chirac To Stand in for Schröder

In a highly unusual diplomatic move, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has asked French President Jacques Chirac to represent German interests on the second day of an EU summit later this week. According to a report in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine on Tuesday, Schröder asked Chirac during talks on Sunday in Paris if he could stand in for him during Friday's second and final day of the talks in Brussels, and the president agreed. If Chirac does play the role, it will be another sign of the increasing strength of Franco-German ties. Schröder will be in Brussels for the summit's opening on Thursday, but will return to Berlin later that evening for a crunch vote in parliament on his government's reform package which will take place on Friday.