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Business

France and Germany to Coordinate Industrial Decisions

The leaders of Germany and France have scheduled a mini-summit at the end of the month to discuss better coordination of their industrial policies. Following a Franco-German summit in Paris on Thursday, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and French President Jacques Chirac announced that French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy would meet with Schröder and several of his cabinet ministers in Berlin. At the same time, Chirac indirectly apologized for tensions that arose after his government became involved in takeover negotiations between pharmaceutical companies Sanofi, Aventis, and Novartis. The French government threatened to veto the Swiss company, Novartis, and pushed for the fusion between France's Sanofi and the Franco-German concern, Aventis. Berlin criticised France's "interventionist tactics." Now, it appears that both countries are eager to put the affair behind them in order to work together on larger issues such as the EU's stability pact rules on budget deficits, which France and Germany have both breached. According to Chirac, if France and Germany don't work together, Europe will come to a standstill.