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News ID: 3521
Publish Date: 9:16 - 19 February 2014
Security in Africa, energy cooperation, data protection and the eurozone's recovery are on the menu of a joint meeting of France and Germany's cabinets in Paris later Wednesday.
The meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel's "grand coalition" and French President Francois Hollande's Socialists will be the first of its kind since Merkel won a third term as chancellor last year.

The two allies, who have warmer ties now than in the early days of Hollande's presidency, when he tilted at austerity policies, will address a press conference afterwards.

Few major announcements are expected but Merkel and Hollande are expected to confirm the deployment in Mali of 250 troops from a Franco-German brigade.
Germany currently has 170 troops in Mali, most of whom are part of an EU mission to train the Malian Army.

France, which routed Islamist insurgents from most of northern Mali a year ago, still had about 2,500 troops in the country at the start of 2014.

Hollande, who has also deployed troops to contain violence in the Central African Republic, aims to reduce the Malian contingent to a counterterrorism force of 1,000.
The troops from the Franco-German brigade are expected to be used in training, not combat.

Merkel, Hollande and their ministers will also discuss cooperation on energy research, fiscal policy and data security. Germany has been particularly vexed by revelations about US snooping on European citizens, including Merkel.

The chancellor is also scheduled to address the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

DPA

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