• Germany edition
 
Franco-German ties feted amid euro crisis
Photo: DPA

Franco-German ties feted amid euro crisis

Published: 22 Jan 2013 07:09 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Jan 2013 16:34 GMT+01:00

French President Francois Hollande has travelled to the snowy German capital to join Chancellor Angela Merkel to fete the Elysee Treaty, inked in 1963, which heralded a new era of friendship between the former foes.

Eighteen years after the end of World War II, then French president Charles de Gaulle and West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer formalised on January 22 the cooperation that has since been a building block of European unity.

But the half-century milestone comes amid strains in the Franco-German partnership and as the European Union faces testing times over the eurozone debt crisis and euroscepticism in Britain.

France and Germany's foreign ministers jointly insisted in a German newspaper that Europe was "not the problem, but it must be the solution" and urged a modernisation of the "European reflex" of former generations.

"We want to counter the danger of an erosion within the EU," Laurent Fabius and Guido Westerwelle wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

"The drift towards populism and nationalism has grown alarmingly in the course of the European debt crisis. We are making a stand with a German-French commitment to Europe," they added.

Kicking off events, Merkel joined Hollande at the French embassy for a meeting with figures from both countries' cultural scenes. Their ministers agreed a programme of culture and media projects.

"I am a child of this friendship (between France and Germany)... my first car was a 2CV and I studied in Paris," German film director Wim Wenders said on arrival, referring to an old Citroen model.

"There's a certain indifference (today) but that doesn't surprise me after 50 years of marriage," he added.

"The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius was among French representatives.

With the French, German and European flags fluttering, Hollande was received with military honours by German President Joachim Gauck at the Bellevue palace where he also briefly shook hands with warmly wrapped-up onlookers.

He then went on to the chancellery to be greeted by Merkel before a group photo with ministers.

Later a joint session of both countries' cabinets was held, while nearly 400 French lawmakers were to join their Bundestag counterparts for a debate in the Reichstag.

"We have differences and different political majorities, but without Franco-German friendship, (we) would lack an engine for European construction," French National Assembly President Claude Bartolone told reporters.

Shortly after Hollande arrived in Berlin, he and Merkel sought to present a unified front during a debate with about 200 German and French youth, despite tensions from the euro crisis which has propelled Berlin into Europe's driving seat.

The two leaders have differed on the best approach for stemming the eurozone turbulence -- with Hollande pushing for fresh spending to bolster growth versus Merkel's pro-austerity mantra.

Even if the two have pulled off compromises, Germany, which has fared far better in the crisis than many of its partners, has expressed hopes the French economy will return to robust growth.

Hollande acknowledged during the debate that his country had a "problem of competitiveness", saying Germany -- Europe's effective paymaster -- had "made efforts" while France "has lost time".

On military matters too, Paris and Berlin have limited cooperation, as the current crisis in Mali and Germany's non-intervention in Libya in 2011, have shown, but Merkel played down their different approaches.

"Step by step we will always weigh up, can we do that, or can't we...," she said, insisting that Germany would not leave its partner, whose troops are fighting Islamist militants in the West African state, high and dry.

Germany has pledged two military transport planes and humanitarian aid for Mali.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:20 January 22, 2013 by Englishted
Chalk and Cheese sooner or later it will break down ,but I hope it will not return to fighting just to rivalry far better .
22:11 January 22, 2013 by www.emungus.net
This note of mine is nothing but a greeting : happy birthday to the two European heavyweights.
Today's headlines
Have Your Say
Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA

Should Germany legalize cannabis?

A New York Times editorial on Sunday called for the US to drop its ban on marijuana, calling the strongly-worded law a "laughing stock". Should Germany follow the US states of Colorado and Washington and legalize recreational use of the drug? READ  

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria
File Photo: DPA

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria

A 45-year-old German woman died when she was attacked by a herd of 20 cows and calves on Monday afternoon on an Alpine pasture in Tyrol's Stubaital valley. READ  

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum
Knut's new home in Berlin's Natural History Museum. Photo: DPA

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum

Germany’s favourite polar bear Knut is set to pull in the crowds again - but this time from a display case. More than three years after his death, his real fur has been used to create a new Knut for a museum exhibition. READ  

And the winner of the EU single market is...
German incomes are higher thanks to the EU. Photo: DPA

And the winner of the EU single market is...

Germany and Denmark came out as the winners of the European Union's single market in a study released on Monday. Integrating economically with its neighbours has helped the German economy grow an average of €37 billion a year since 1992. READ  

Synagogue attacked, rabbi gets death threats
Police check the outside of a synagogue in Wuppertal for evidence of arson on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Synagogue attacked, rabbi gets death threats

A wave of anti-Semitism in Germany, unleashed by the Gaza crisis, shows no sign of abating. A synagogue was attacked on Tuesday morning, a rabbi received death threats and anti-Jewish comments online have increased. Attacks on mosques have also risen. READ  

UBS pays Germany €300m in tax fight
Photo: DPA

UBS pays Germany €300m in tax fight

Top Swiss bank UBS settled a long-running legal dispute with Germany on Tuesday by agreeing to pay a fine of €300 million. Germany suspects UBS of having helped account holders hide millions from the taxman. READ  

Two die as heavy rain and floods hits west
Münster was one of the areas worst hit by Monday night's heavy rain. Photo: DPA

Two die as heavy rain and floods hits west

UPDATE: A man drowned in his cellar on Monday night as heavy rain battered parts of north-western Germany. A second man died when he tried to drive through a flooded street. The emergency services were in places overwhelmed by hundreds of calls. There are further weather warnings in place for Tuesday. READ  

EU to hit Russia with tough sanctions
Merkel has finally lost patience with Putin. Photo: DPA

EU to hit Russia with tough sanctions

The EU is set to agree a raft of new wide-ranging sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, after Germany changed its stance on upping the economic pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. READ  

'Mad professor' to swim length of Rhine
Professor Andreas Fath, 49, in training along the Rhine in Baden-Württemberg in June. Photo: DPA

'Mad professor' to swim length of Rhine

German chemistry professor Andreas Fath started on Monday a gruelling four-week solo swim down the Rhine river for the benefit of science and the environment. READ  

Unfair advantage for one-legged long jumper?
Markus Rehm became German champion on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Unfair advantage for one-legged long jumper?

Paralympics gold medallist Markus Rehm triumphed over his non-disabled rivals on Saturday, winning the German long jump championship. But athletics officials are now reviewing whether his prosthetic leg gave him an unfair advantage. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,227
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd