Germany, France celebrate half-centennial reconciliation

Germany, France celebrate half-centennial reconciliation
# 22 January 2013 22:41 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Germany and France kicked off on Tuesday a series of celebrations to mark marked the 50th anniversary of rapprochement between the two nations, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The celebrations on Tuesday were attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and visiting French President Francois Hollande in Berlin.

On Jan. 22, 1963, then French president Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer penned the landmark Elysee Treaty, heralding a new era of friendship between the former foes.

Since then, the two countries has been seeking ever closer economic and cultural cooperation, laying down foundation for the European integration process over the past decades.

Tuesday's celebrations, highlighted by a joint Cabinet meeting and a joint session of the bilateral parliaments, seemed even more significant against the backdrop of acute disputes over the recipe to address the gnawing eurozone debt crisis.

Hollande arrived in Berlin and hold talks with Merkel prior to the start of the grand fete.

The two leaders also joined in a live TV dialogue on Tuesday, delivering speeches and picking up questions on youth training and unemployment from some 200 French and German youngsters.

In light of Hollande's proposition of unleashing spending to stimulate growth, which is running counter to Merkel's pro-austerity prescription, Merkel acknowledged differences, but still felt "a very great closeness, and when we have come together, then mostly a good new solution has come out of it." Merkel and Hollande will also address some 1,000 of legislators of the two countries in the Reichstag. Representatives from France's National Assembly are also scheduled to meet with their Bundestag counterparts for a two-hour discussion.

In addition, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere are to meet with their French counterparts Laurent Fabius and Jean-Yves Le Drian for talks on Mali conflicts.

A concert gala at the Berlin Philharmonic hall, featuring with music masterpieces by Beethoven and French Camille Saint-Saens, is set to conclude the whole day's commemorative fete.

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