Hollande, Merkel take in soccer game before summit

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Associated Press

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 2:04 PM

PARIS (AP) — Before they face off in Brussels, the leaders of Germany and France are watching their national teams go at it on the soccer field.

French President Francois Hollande greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside the Stade de France on Wednesday before they headed inside to watch the "friendly" — and to set the scene for talks on Europe's contentious budget, the subject of this week's summit.

The first summit to decide how much to spend on everything from agriculture to infrastructure collapsed. Leaders from the 27 European Union countries will try again Thursday to find a compromise.

The casual locale appeared aimed at signaling that the leaders, who don't always see eye-to-eye, are growing closer.

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