Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:29PM - 179 Views

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(AP) France's prime minister has assured a German audience that his country is committed to getting its debt under control. He says it's essential to preserving France's sovereignty.

Jean-Marc Ayrault told German business leaders Thursday that France is committed to stop burdening future generations with continuously rising debt and restore the necessary leeway for political actions.

Ayrault's first visit in Germany since taking office in May comes as concerns grow that France's economy, the eurozone's second-largest, is weakening. Official figures show it barely avoided recession in the third quarter. France is Berlin's most important ally in fighting Europe's debt crisis.

Ayrault stressed we are aware that getting the public finances in order is also the precondition for our sovereignty.

The prime minister was to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel later Thursday.

Associated Press
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