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Berlin — In 2007, on his first visit to Berlin as French prime minister, Francois Fillon gave Angela Merkel an antique edition of Radioactivity, a work by one of her heroes, fellow physicist Marie Curie. The book, now prominently displayed in the Chancellery in Berlin, is a symbol of Franco-German friendship and a reminder that Fillon, favourite to win the French presidency after his resounding victory in the first round of the Republican primary on Sunday, is a known quantity in Berlin. Particularly on the issue of economic reform, where Fillon is proposing a shock-and-awe approach involving deep cuts to public spending, he is viewed by Merkel’s government as an ally. But on other issues, from Russia and Turkey to migration and Europe, Fillon could prove a far more difficult partner for Merkel, who announced on Sunday, as Fillon was surging to victory, that she would seek a fourth term as German chancellor. Germany and France have been the driving forces of European integration for...

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