August 16, 2012 / 1:45 PM / in 5 years

Merkel to meet Hollande next Thursday

France's President Francois Hollande (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stand at lecterns during the 50th anniversary ceremony of the reconciliation meeting between former French president Charles de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer after World War Two, in Reims July 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ahead of crucial decisions on Greece’s future, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with France’s President Francois Hollande next Thursday, government sources said on Thursday.

Merkel and Hollande are scheduled to have dinner in Berlin on August 23 to discuss “European topics” before they each meet Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

September will be a crucial period for the euro zone, with a slew of decisions due and after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi bought a measure of calm by announcing he would do whatever it took to shore up the bloc.

In Berlin on Friday, Samaras is likely to raise a long-standing proposal that Greek austerity measures be spread over four instead of two years, to soften their impact on an economy enduring its longest and deepest recession since World War Two.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Catherine Evans

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