Lew headed to Europe for talks

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will head to Europe next week for talks, the Treasury Department announced Monday.
 
The Jan. 6-8 trip will feature meetings in France, Germany and Portugal. 
 
A focus will be on growth and financial stability, according to a press release. The European Union is still struggling to emerge from a debt crisis that has threatened the global economy in recent years.   This month, EU leaders agreed on a broad banking sector plan to prevent future bank bailouts.
 
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Lew is slated to meet French President François Hollande on Jan. 7 and French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, before heading to Berlin to meet German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
 
The following day, Lew will meet Portuguese leaders, including Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.
 
Portugal is struggling to implement a budget-cutting plan agreed to with the European Union in the wake of the Eurozone debt crisis. Last week, its Constitutional Court moved to block state worker cuts. 
 
The Lew meetings also come as the United States is trying to negotiate a free trade agreement with the European Union that could contain broad financial industry provisions.