May.30 - French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Paris, just hours after Hollande said the EU can't ''dictate'' reforms to France. They hope to come up with new ideas to boost European industry but expectations the meeting will produce concrete measures are not high, as Ciara Sutton reports.
Another day, another EU meeting for French President Francois Hollande. This time it's German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But Hollande managed to ruffle Merkel's feathers ahead of the meeting in Paris. He told reporters that the EU can't "dictate" reforms to France. It comes after France received recommendations from the European Commission, urging Hollande to rein in public spending, revamp pensions and cut labour costs in return for a two-year reprieve on budget deficit cuts. French officials mostly welcomed the recommendations as being in line with reform plans already sent to Brussels. But Hollande says the Commission must not overstep its mark. And that's not going to please Merkel. There are growing concerns in the EU economic powerhouse, that France is slipping deeper into decline. The meeting is intended to flesh out a proposal on greater euro zone cooperation ahead of next month's EU summit. But HSBC Global Economist Madhur Jha isn't expecting any big decisions to be made. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HSBC GLOBAL ECONOMIST, MADHUR JHA, SAYING: "This is clearly something that is a more medium to long-term plan. This is something that they would like to discuss with other members of the euro zone before something concrete is put on the table, that has euro zone wide implications." Few details have yet to emerge on the plans, and officials on both sides have played down expectations of any major European policy initiative before Germany's September election where Merkel will seek to win a new term.