French, German leaders seek more unity 100 years after WWI
PARIS (AP) — The presidents of France and Germany say Europeans must stand up to nationalism and build a “common future,” as they marked 99 years since the armistice ending World War I.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that it’s “necessary and urgent” to reinforce the European Union over the coming year to stop “skepticism and rejection” from spreading.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged the fears of Europeans “who don’t feel protected from the consequences of globalization.” But he too insisted that Europe must move forward “so that events like those we knew over the past century ... don’t repeat themselves.”
Both leaders met in Paris on Friday before heading to eastern France. There they inaugurated a museum on a rocky peak overlooking the Rhine Valley, where about 25,000 French and German soldiers were killed during World War I.
The mount, at an altitude of 956 meters (3,136 feet) in eastern France near the border with Germany, was considered strategically important because it offered a commanding view of its surroundings.
Macron and Steinmeier gave each other a long hug in front of the monument commemorating the battle and walked together in the military cemetery and into former German trenches.