French President Nicolas Sarkozy began talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday, as financial markets nervously watched their response to the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
Concern that Greece remains in deep trouble - despite two years of bailouts - has spread pessimism on financial markets, which are also alarmed by the big strain eurozone governments face to get the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) up and running by mid-year, DPA reported.
Sarkozy and Merkel were expected to focus on plans to promote growth and jobs, in order to avoid a recession that would add to the burden of coping with the debts of troubled eurozone governments.
The two leaders also have an ambitious timetable to draft a fiscal discipline pact in time for the next EU summit at the end of March.
Financial markets were edgy before the leaders' working lunch, and the euro weakened on forex markets.
France and Germany appeared to be at odds late last week over preconditions to introduce a financial transaction tax, which is being fiercely resisted by the finance industry.
Paris said last week that it may go ahead unilaterally and introduce such a tax in France, while Germany has urged to hold back on action until all 27 European Union nations agree.