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Merkel, Sarkozy meet amid new year of euro gloom

BERLIN (AP) - The leaders of Germany and France are holding their first meeting of the year as the eurozone's weaker countries worry about high borrowing costs and Europe works to hammer out a treaty enshrining tougher budget rules.

Monday's meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy comes ahead of new Italian Premier Mario Monti's first visit to Berlin Wednesday.

Merkel and Sarkozy will travel to Italy Jan. 20 before a European summit at the end of the month.

Italy is a key focus of the crisis because of its size, huge debt load and need to borrow heavily in the first quarter. The yield on its 10-year bonds rose back above the 7 percent level that is considered a danger mark late last week.

Meanwhile, Greece's prime minister has warned of possible default if details of a second bailout aren't finalized.


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