• France edition
 

Hollande and Merkel vow to unite to save eurozone

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

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.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Interview: Liberation of Paris
'Three years underground and then the call came'
David Leiba was a Jewish French resistance fighter who helped liberate Paris from the Nazis. Photo: Joshua Melvin/The Local

'Three years underground and then the call came'

David Leiba lived underground as a French resistance fighter for years before resurfacing in the rebellion that forced the German army out of Paris. He tells The Local of his memories of the ecstatic and terrifying final moments of the Nazi occupation READ  

Hollande returns to work as problems mount up
President François Hollande and his PM Manuel Valls discuss their return to work. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

Hollande returns to work as problems mount up

The French president returns to the front line on Wednesday for his first cabinet meeting. On his packed agenda will be the stagnant economy, the threat of deflation, unemployment and more in-fighting within his own party. READ  

France tries to take sting out of Asian hornets
France is fighting back against the Asian hornet, using rods, chickens and drones. Photo: T-Mizo/Flickr

France tries to take sting out of Asian hornets

After slipping into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China Asian hornets have since invaded more than half the country. Now France is fighting back, using drones, poisoned rods and even chickens. READ  

Liberation of Paris: Ten things you need to know
Ten facts you didn't know about the liberation of Paris, including how many female collaborators were "purified". Photo: Critical past/YouTube

Liberation of Paris: Ten things you need to know

From the "purifying" of thousands of women, to pool room surrenders, here's ten facts about a momentous moment in French history that you might not have known about. READ  

VIDEO: Paris in time lapse
Beauty of Paris captured in time lapse video
"I wanted to capture Paris in all it's glory". Photo: Screengrab Paul Richardson

Beauty of Paris captured in time lapse video

On his first trip to Paris, filmmaker Paul Richardson vowed to capture the city in all its glory. And he did just that, as this impressive time lapse video, called "J'adore Paris" shows. Watch it for yourself. READ  

Air France staff object to flying to Ebola countries
Air France staff want flights to Ebola hit countries to be suspended. Photo: AFP

Air France staff object to flying to Ebola countries

Air France cabin crew are so concerned about the threat of the Ebola epidemic that unions have started a petition calling for flights to be stopped to those West African countries most affected by the disease. READ  

French may have to shell out more for Nutella
Nutella lovers may take a hit in the pocketbook due to a shortage. Photo: Nutella/Rob Heiner

French may have to shell out more for Nutella

France's legions of Nutella fanatics may find themselves having to pay a bit more to get their fix of the chocolate spread in future after a disastrous spell of weather prompted a shortage of the product's key ingredient. READ  

Riviera penthouse to be 'world's most expensive'
You'll need money and a head for heights. Will this become the most expensive apartment in the world when it goes on sale next year? Photo: Challenges/Twitter

Riviera penthouse to be 'world's most expensive'

A penthouse apartment on the French Riviera will go on sale next year with developers expecting it to become the most expensive in the world when it exchanges hands. It could cost a cool €300 million, but thankfully comes without any "vis-a-vis". Take a look. READ  

WW2 - 70th anniversary
IN IMAGES: Liberation of Paris from the Nazis
French police and a member of the FFI (French Forces of the Interior) keep a watch over the Seine in August 1944. Photo: AFP

IN IMAGES: Liberation of Paris from the Nazis

As Paris commemorates the 70th anniversary of its liberation from the Nazis, we've put together a selection of images from the start of the uprising to the celebrations on August 25th. READ  

French chocolate makers revolt over labels plan
French chocolate makers are outraged by plans for a health warnings on their products. Photo: Shutterstock

French chocolate makers revolt over labels plan

French chocolate makers are furious because the government is mulling the idea of placing warning labels on their products in an effort to promote healthier eating. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Culture
VIDEO: Francophile Robin Williams enjoyed poking fun at the French
Travel
Six reasons why France is the world's top tourist destination
International
Remembering the 'forgotten campaign' in the liberation of France
Gallery
VIDEO: French bucket list - The 12 best things to do in France
International
Do three French cities deserve to be in top 10 "World 's Most Unfriendly"?
Gallery
Don't make a faux pas! Ten things not to do when working in France
Health
Ebola: What is the risk of it coming to France?
Health
Are the French really a nation of smokers?
Culture
Frightened by the prospect of long French dinners? You're not alone
National
'Stay in Paris in August? You'd have to be crazy'
International
Calais migrant crisis: 'People will be killed if nothing is done'
Culture
Paris is closed for August, but will it always be like that?
Culture
Paris: The not-so-Grande Arche has fallen into a sorry state
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 Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

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 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