• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Hollande and Merkel vow to unite to save eurozone

AFP · 22 Jan 2013, 17:46

Published: 22 Jan 2013 17:46 GMT+01:00

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande set past tensions aside to put on a show of unity in Berlin, announcing they planned to present the initiatives by May before an EU summit.

Speaking at a joint press conference in the midst of a hectic agenda of pomp and celebration marking the Elysee Treaty, inked in 1963, Merkel said the aim was the "stabilising and deepening" of the economic and monetary union.

Employment, growth, financial stability and competitiveness would be targeted in the proposals, which would be laid out before a European Council meeting in June, she said.

'Great responsibility to improve eurozone'

Describing Franco-German relations as "exceptionally close", Merkel said the two countries were aware of their "great responsibility of improving the situation in the European Union, overcoming the euro crisis and enabling economic growth."

Hollande said decisions would be taken in the coming months "to deepen the economic and monetary union."

"We are working on it. We will try to be as concrete as possible, that is to say, the most useful so that growth is strengthened," he told reporters, adding Europe's 2014-20 budget would also have to be resolved after talks collapsed in November.

"France and Germany have a share of the responsibility," he added. Both countries' cabinets held a joint session, followed by a debate in the historic Reichstag with nearly 400 French lawmakers who travelled to the German capital to meet their Bundestag counterparts.

Signed by then French president Charles de Gaulle and West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the Elysee accord formalized the cooperation between the former foes 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.

Differences on military matters

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 both leaders played down differences.

"We have once again shown clearly that we (Germany and France) are together," Merkel insisted to reporters, praising the "difficult" mission by French troops against Islamists in Mali.

And Hollande thanked Germany for its immediate "political solidarity" and material assistance.

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

Story continues below…

After Merkel backed the re-election of conservative former French president Nicolas Sarkozy -- whose joint euro crisis-fighting efforts earned them the nickname "Merkozy" -- last year, her rapport with the Socialist Hollande has got off to a cooler start.

They 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.

But, relaxed and light-heartedly, both leaders stressed they got along well in response to a question by reporters, with Merkel calling it "perhaps our best-kept secret that the chemistry is right."

"We are on the same wavelength without needing any encouragement," quipped Hollande.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
15-hour tailbacks in UK as France heightens checks
The local Kent Police force said there was a 12-mile tailback, which it put down to a “vast volume of holiday traffic”. Photo: AFP

British officials were drafted in to help French border police on Sunday after 15-hour queues built up at the port of Dover due to heightened entry checks.

15 injured in Welsh bus accident in France
The bus ended on its side in a ditch. Two helicopters were dispatched to the site. Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Fifteen people were injured, two of them seriously, when a bus carrying teenagers from Wales rolled over on a motorway in eastern France on Saturday, the local gendarmerie said.

Libya armed groups urge fight against French troops
Dozens of protesters rallied Friday outside the GNA’s former headquarters in a Tripoli navy base. Photo: AFP

Armed groups including Islamists have urged Libyans to mobilise against French and other foreign troops deployed in the country, denouncing their presence as a “blatant aggression”.

EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire: report
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean. Photo: AFP

An EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean in May likely broke up in midair after a fire erupted in or near the cockpit, the New York Times has reported.

IMF boss Lagarde to stand trial over $400 million payout
Lagarde will be the third successive IMF chief to face trial. Photo: AFP

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was ordered Friday to stand trial in France over a massive state payout to a colourful tycoon when she was French economy minister, dealing a setback to her stellar career.

Hollande defends minister under fire over Nice attack
The Nice assault was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months. Photo: AFP

French President Francois Hollande on Friday defended his government from accusations it relaxed its anti-terror defences after the Euro championships, and announced plans to arm the fight against the Islamic State group which claimed the Nice attack.

Why was Nice ordered to delete CCTV images of attack?
Photo: AFP

The fact that city authorities in Nice were asked to delete images of the truck attack has only given weight to those criticizing the government.

Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Photo: Runs With Scissors/Flickr

Struggling to learn French? Here are some free and easy ways to help you conquer the language once and for all.

32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
Photo: Tatyana A./Flickr

How many of these have you committed?

France to supply Iraq artillery as it steps up fight against Isis
Photo: AFP

France is stepping up its battle against Isis in the Middle East.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Ten reasons not to leave Paris this summer
Ten ways other expats in France drive you mad
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
Travel
Ten crazy things to do in France if you dare
Society
Paris: an obstacle course for wheelchair users
Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France
2,766
jobs available