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British, German, French Leaders to Hold Talks in Berlin - 2004-02-18


The leaders of Britain, France and meet Wednesday in Berlin for talks expected to focus on stimulating economic growth in Europe.

The talks have already been overshadowed by allegations from other countries that the three biggest European Union members are trying to dictate EU policy. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told reporters that such a belief is shared by most other EU states.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder say the goal of their day-long meeting is to coordinate their positions on several key issues ahead of a full EU summit next month in Brussels.

Officials say the three leaders will discuss ways to boost sluggish European economies, as well as prepare the European Union for labor market reforms and an aging population.

Mr. Blair has denied he and his French and German colleagues want to dominate the European Union. He said EU members can try to resolve issues without involving all member states.

The European Union will expand to 25 members when it welcomes 10 new countries on May 1.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.