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French Finance Minister attends German cabinet meeting

France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde listens to her German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble as she attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin.
France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde listens to her German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble as she attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin. Reuters

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde attended a German cabinet meeting on Wednesday, where she joined in the discussions on a new bailout fund for banks. It was the first time a member of the French government has participated in one of Germany's weekly cabinet meetings since Berlin and Paris agreed to allow their ministers to attend each other's sessions.

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The cabinet meeting resulted in an agreement on a new tax on banks that will fund bailouts in the event of another financial crisis. Ministers agreed to tax banks according to their size and relative importance in the banking sector.

France is currently considering implementing a similar scheme.

Despite Lagarde's recent criticism of German reluctance to boost consumer spending, France and Germany seem keen to present a united front on tackling the economic crisis in Europe.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble will attend a meeting of the French cabinet in Paris next week. The initiative follows on from the two countries' joint Franco-German cabinet meetings, which have been running for around a decade. 

In a sign of the importance of the relationship between the two neighbours, France and Germany last year floated the idea of sharing a joint minister who would sit in both cabinets, but eventually dismissed it as unworkable.

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