From irishexaminer.com, July 9, 2012:
The desecration of dozens of graves of Germans killed in the First World War and buried in a French cemetery clouded a historic meeting by the leaders of the two nations, who urged Europeans to set aside economic worries and deepen their union.
In the medieval cathedral in Reims, France, a city battered by the two world wars, French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel marked the 50th anniversary of a meeting between France’s Charles de Gaulle and Germany’s Konrad Adenauer that paved the way for decades of cross-border partnership.
On Jul 8, 1962, De Gaulle and Adenauer shook hands in a symbolic gesture to bury generations of enmity between France and Germany. Yesterday, Merkel and Hollande exchanged kisses on the cheek.
Today’s leaders, whose countries are the biggest economies in the euro zone, acknowledged the challenges facing the shared currency as debts in smaller countries have affected the whole region and worry markets worldwide.
“The economic union . . . appears not to be strong enough,” Merkel said, urging Europeans to “complete the economic and monetary union on a political level.”
Hollande insisted that the French could keep some of their cherished national sovereignty but said the current crisis should push Europeans to speed up integration and force a “new start” for European unity.
He denounced vandals who desecrated at least 40 graves of Germans killed in World War I in a military cemetery in Saint-Etienne-a-Arnes on the eve of Sunday’s meeting.