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France to host mini summit of EU Social Democrat leaders Saturday

 file photo of European Parliament in the northeastern French city of Strasbourg/AFP

file photo of European Parliament in the northeastern French city of Strasbourg/AFP

PARIS, June 20- French President Francois Hollande will Saturday host seven heads of Social Democrat governments in the EU for informal talks on the priorities of the next European Commission.

The gathering will bring together Austria’s Werner Faymann, Belgium’s Elio di Rupo, Denmark’s Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Italy’s Matteo Renzi, Romania’s Victor Viorel Ponta, Slovakia’s Robert Fico and the Czech Republic’s Bohuslav Sobotka, Hollande’s office said Friday.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the Social Democrats, and Martin Schulz, the former head of the European Parliament, will also attend the meeting, it said.

Earlier this week, Gabriel had called for more time for EU countries struggling to get their finances in order in line with the bloc’s norms.

However the conservatives in Germany’s left-right coalition government are opposed to any easing of the deficit rules.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday that the talks would focus on “Europe’s future orientation.”

European leaders are expected to hold talks on the European Commission leadership at a European Council meeting on June 26 and 27 in Brussels.

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