The leaders of France and Germany celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Elysee ‘friendship’ Treaty with a joint ceremony in Berlin.
The accord signed between General De Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer was another step along the path of European integration.
Both countries had already deepened their economic ties a decade earlier when they joined the European Coal and Steel Community, a precursor to the European Union.
French President François Hollande said the Franco-German alliance still plays a crucial role in Europe.
He told the German parliament, the Bundestag, tha “it is important to show Europe how to have confidence in its future.”
“We will have to take these decisions in the next few months in order to enhance the European economy and the currency union,” said Hollande.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said both governments would Berlin and Paris would push on in a drive for greater coordination of EU economic policy.
“We have a fiscal pact, yes we have a pact for growth, but we’re not at the end of the road. That’s why i’m very grateful that we have agreed to make proposals for closer economic collaboration in May,” she said, without giving further details.
Yet the two countries remain at odds over how to tackle the eurozone crisis. France favours more public spending over Germany’s austerity approach.
That difference in policy caused tensions during Hollande’s election campaign: Merkel openly backed his predecessor and rival, Nicolas Sarkozy.