Merkel, Hollande meet on the anniversary of Franco-German reconciliation


The French president and the German Chancellor butt heads over EU bank union.


Thomas Niedermueller

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met over the weekend to press for European unity in the face of the debt crisis.

The two met on the anniversary of Franco-German reconciliation after World World II, though it was clear there were big disagreements between the two nations over the future of the EU.

The meeting addressed a number of European issues including a nascent banking union and a merger between two major European defense and aeronautics manufacturers.

Both leaders agreed that further review of the merger between European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EADS) and BAE Systems Plc. - the latter owned partially by the British government while the former owned in part by both France and Germany, - was needed, said Bloomberg.

There has been some disagreement as to whether a merger may help or hinder the companies in its goal to stay competitive worldwide.

Regarding economic policy in the EU, Hollande has pushed for deeper cooperation in the banking sector, while Germany has been more cautious.

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“We must act together or we risk being swept away in each of our nations, by skepticism, selfishness and populism,”  said Hollande in a press conference, reported the Associated Press.

AFP noted that the European Union had agreed to more bank supervision in June, one tenet of which allows the EU to directly lend to European banks rather than aiding the country where the banks are based.

France is urging European leaders to accept a proposal to watch all 6000 banks based in the eurozone, while Germany has hinted that it would only like to monitor the largest banks.

Both agreed that closer European integration was necessary during the crisis.

"The only response to the crisis is Europe, it is Europe that will beat the crisis," said Hollande, reported DW.

"Long live the Franco-German friendship!"