Germany expects the dilemma of boosting growth and employment while cutting debt to dominate a summit of EU leaders in June, a government spokesman said, in a sign Berlin is relaxing its focus on austerity as the way out of the bloc's crisis.
Francois Hollande, the Socialist favoured to win a French presidential runoff on May 6, promises to shift the debate in Europe towards promoting growth if he is elected, criticising Chancellor Angela Merkel's emphasis on economic reform and budget cuts.
Merkel's spokesman played down their differences and stressed that Berlin had been pushing measures for months to bolster growth in recession-hit countries like Greece and Spain.
"For some time now, growth has been the second pillar of Germany's crisis-fighting policy," Steffen Seibert told a news conference on Friday.
"Growth was the subject of the European Council in January, in March, and the topic of boosting growth and employment will play a massive role at the June summit. Germany will be active, as it has been in recent months, in looking for the right measures with its partners," he said.