News / Europe

France, Germany Mark Postwar Reconciliation Amid Divisions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande react after a speech in front of the Reims cathedral in Reims, eastern France, July 8, 2012.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande react after a speech in front of the Reims cathedral in Reims, eastern France, July 8, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
PARIS — France and Germany briefly patched up their differences over the eurozone crisis, as their leaders met in the northern French town of Reims to mark the 50th anniversary of their post-war reconciliation.  

Standing outside the 800-year-old Reims Cathedral on a rainy Sunday, French President Francois Hollande welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  He used soaring words to describe the post-war reconciliation of Europe's two historic foes. It was realized at this same cathedral in 1962 by their predecessors - France's Charles de Gaulle and Germany's Konrad Adenauer.

Hollande said de Gaulle and Adenauer were lucid enough to look beyond centuries of warfare at what the nations had jointly achieved. And audacious enough to imagine a common future after so much pain and anger.

The reconciliation between France and Germany laid the foundations for the European Union.

In brief remarks at the Reims cathedral, both Hollande and Merkel spoke about the challenges ahead for Europe.

Hollande said the eurozone crisis offers the EU a chance to make a new start. He expressed confidence the 27-member bloc will be able to reconcile economic and social progress, competitiveness with solidarity, and national sovereignty with EU membership.

But Merkel described the EU's shortfalls, noting it has yet to realize a full economic and monetary union. She called it a Herculean task but said Europe is up to the job - and will emerge stronger than ever.

France and Germany have been the motor driving the EU for decades. Today, Hollande and Merkel are still crafting their new relationship. Underscoring its importance, Hollande visited Merkel in May, hours after being sworn into office.

But the two leaders are sharply divided over the prescriptions for fixing the eurozone crisis. Hollande is emphasizing growth. He has struck new alliances with his Spanish and Italian counterparts. Merkel is a budget stickler. She is also skeptical about pooling EU debt in the form of eurobonds, which Hollande supports.

Their 50th-anniversary ceremony was marred by news that dozens of German war graves have been vandalized in northern France.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid