Germany, France fete historic treaty

January 22, 2013 - 2:44:09 am

BERLIN: Germany and France launched into a new bonhomie when their leaders met yesterday to mark 50 years since a landmark treaty forged closer ties.

French President Francois Hollande arrived in a snow-bedecked Berlin, officials travelling with him said, and had a brief meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel before the two launched into events to fete the Elysee Treaty. Their first engagement on a packed pomp-filled agenda, which continues through today, was to respond to questions by about 200 French and German youth in a live televised debate.

Afterwards, the two leaders were likely to discuss the world hotspots, including the current crisis in Mali.

In signing the landmark treaty on January 22, 1963, then French president Charles de Gaulle and West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer sealed a new era of reconciliation between the former foes which has since driven European unity.

Merkel acknowledged differences with France in her weekly podcast on Saturday but said she felt “a very great closeness” with Germany’s neighbour.