Merkel hopes EU adopts growth package

Associated Press
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the weekly cabinet meeting to discuss the country's budget 2013 at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday told a caucus meeting that there won't be a full shared debt liability in Europe "as long as I live," according to a lawmaker from Merkel's governing coalition. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

PARIS (AP) — Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes European leaders adopt a €130 billion ($162 billion) stimulus package this week, in a gesture to French President Francois Hollande despite their differences over how to end Europe's spiraling debt crisis.

The two leaders went into talks Wednesday night sharply opposed over whether to share debt among the 17 nations that use the euro, and how much sovereignty to surrender over national budgets.

Hollande, who won election last month campaigning against the austerity policies championed by Merkel, has pushed the "growth package."

Merkel, at Hollande's side heading into their talks, said "we have made progress toward a pact for growth, which we hope can be decided tomorrow."

The two leaders go to Brussels on Thursday to meet other European Union leaders for a two-day summit they both called "important" for Europe's future.