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Merkel, Abe at odds on how to fix global economy

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe have disagreed on how to kick-start the global economy ahead of a meeting of G7 member nations. Abe hopes the Japan summit will send out a united message on the issue.

The leaders of the G7 advanced industrial countries will put forward their competing economic visions when Japan hosts the group's meeting later this month.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to outline the challenges faced by the global economy.

"We spoke about the global economic situation and that we cannot just wait for normal economic cycles but have to proactively tackle the risks to rejuvenate the world economy," Abe told a news conference.

"We need a speeding up of structural reforms and expansive fiscal policies," the Japanese premier added.

Abe, who is famous for his "Abenomics" economic vision, wants increased public spending to stimulate economic growth.

The refugee boost

But Merkel said her country was doing enough, pointing to increased economic activity triggered by the arrival of over a million refugees and migrants in Europe.

"With the many refugees we took in last year, we saw a boost in domestic demand, which, in my view, was a good contribution to the development of the world economy," she said.

Elaborating her economic approach, the German chancellor said Berlin supported a three-way strategy of structural reforms.

"We are seeking to combine solid budgetary policies with sustainable growth policies and more investment. I think with that we are making our contribution for the good development of the world economy, and we will be discussing the details in depth in Japan."

shs/cmk (AFP, Reuters)