Monday

11th Nov 2019

Merkel and Hollande pledge unity at Verdun ceremony

  • Merkel and Hollande commemorated the 100th anniversary of Verdun battle (Photo: Elysee.fr)

French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel and marked the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Verdun side by side on Sunday (29 May).

The two lay wreaths at a cemetery in northeastern France to honor the 300,000 soldiers killed in one of the longest battles in World War I, which lasted for more than 300 days in 1916.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Verdun commemorations became a symbol of reconciliation between France and German after the neighbours first carried out joint solemnities in 1984.

Back then, the picture of Frech president Francois Mitterrand and German chancellor Helmut Kohl holding hands in the Douaumont cemetery at Verdun became an iconic image of rapprochement.

"We are side by side to tackle the challenges of today and first of all the future of Europe, because, as we know disappointment was followed by disenchantment, and after doubts came suspicion, and for some even rejection or break-up," Hollande said at Sunday's ceremony.

"In the European Union we will continue to have different views on certain issues," Merkel said, adding "that is in the nature of things but it will prove beneficial if we demonstrate our ability to compromise to reach an agreement".

"Europe has problems but Europe has also managed to do a lot and it has come a long way. In a world of global challenges it is important to develop Europe further and to push through the changes that are necessary," Merkel said in her weekly broadcast.

Germany: Refugee crisis is like euro crisis

The migration crisis is like the euro crisis because the solution is for member states to cede more power to the EU, Germany’s defence minister has said.

Can Sunday's election end Spain's endless deadlock?

Uncertainty surrounding this weekend's Spanish election - the fourth in four years - is rising, as polls suggest that the outcome of Sunday's vote could be as inconclusive April's election. Thousands of police are on the streets of Barcelona.

New Romanian commissioner completes line-up, bar UK

Ursula von der Leyen has chosen Alina Valean to be Romania's new commissioner. She will get the transport portfolio, putting an end to speculation that Hungary might lose the enlargement portfolio.

News in Brief

  1. EU's climate contribution exceeds €20bn annually
  2. EU-Singapore trade deal enters into force this month
  3. Commission will not probe Borrell over Catalan tweet
  4. Frontex gets its European border police force
  5. EU Parliament loses funding case against Farage-led party
  6. US will not impose car tariffs, says Juncker
  7. Merkel disagrees with Macron on Nato
  8. Migrants in Malta transferred after EU deal

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. New hearings for the von der Leyen commission This WEEK
  2. Bosnia wants explanation for Macron's 'time-bomb' remark
  3. MEPs slam Commission over common charger delay
  4. Erdogan: refugees will enter Europe unless EU does more
  5. Cleaning up both the EU and Western Balkans
  6. Can Sunday's election end Spain's endless deadlock?
  7. Up to 750 European children trapped in north-east Syria
  8. EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us