German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday welcomed Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to Berlin, where the two leaders are presiding over the 24th German-Spanish bilateral summit.

Merkel and Rajoy posed for photographers, listened to the playing of the national anthems and took part in a review of the troops.

The two leaders then headed off for their meeting, while the Spanish ministers accompanying Rajoy met with their German counterparts.

Merkel and Rajoy are expected to discuss the economic situation in Spain and the European Union, as well as this week's Council of Europe meeting that will take up the bloc's budget.

Rajoy has been calling on Germany and other EU members to support stimulus efforts, while Merkel has been defending German policy and arguing that her country was doing its part to promote a "robust" European economy. EFE