The Calendar of History Marks the 21st Century

German and French Leaders Gave a Speech in Strasbourg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel together with the French President Francois Hollande made a joint address in the European Parliament . They have called for unity across the continent to tackle a series of crises that have shaken the EU to its core.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz welcomed the two leaders, telling that the whole of Europe suffers when Franco-German cooperation does not work well. So, if in crises, France and Germany come to a good compromise, it is beneficial for all partners and the whole of the EU, according to Schulz.

Appealing to the deputies of the Parliament, The French president Francois Hollande told that for years now Europe has been facing a series of crises, financial, social and economic.

 ”Now we are facing a humanitarian crisis and an influx of refugees caused by the destabilization of entire regions. And I am not forgetting either the crisis of security and terrorism.” – he said, according to the official site of European Parliament.

 ”Europe has been slow to realize that the tragedies in Africa and the Middle East could have such consequences and has not provided sufficient aid and support,” conceded Francois Hollande. “Europe had to get organized in a hurry. We did it, not without difficulty. But an emergency plan with the European Commission and a sharing mechanism have been established,” he continued.

The French president also stressed the “need to strengthen the Schengen area” but without calling into question the principle of the passport-free zone because to do away with it completely “would be a tragic mistake,” he said.

 ”There is no alternative to a strong Europe,” the French president reiterated, citing the need to reaffirm the EU’s principle of solidarity in the face of “terrorism that seeks to destroy the glue that bonds us together,” as well as the solidarity of respect for all EU states and neighboring countries in Africa and the Middle East.

“Faced with these challenges, I am convinced that if we do not move ahead with integration, we shall stop or slip back”, said Hollande. He therefore proposed “consolidating the Euro area” in order to “coordinate policies, promote fiscal convergence and harmonization, investment, and tax and social policy”, adding that “Institutional choices will be necessary”.

“If we are here, the Chancellor and I, it is because there were two wars in the last century between Germany and France. And it was Germany and France, in the wake of this tragedy, which wanted to enable Europe to build itself. That is why our two countries have always wanted to initiate new European constructions”, said Hollande.

 As for the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she stated that with the migration issue, Europe is facing a new historical event. The huge number of refugees is changing the agenda of Europe because their values are being put to the test

“We cannot escape the need for action at its root cause, but we must not be tempted to act at the level of nation states. This is an historic challenge which is also an opportunity”, – she said according to Global Times, – “We must now resist the temptation to fall back into national government action. Right now we need more Europe! Germany and France are ready. Only together will we in Europe succeed in reducing the global causes of flight and expulsion. “

In conclusion, Merkel pointed out that the essence of compromise lay at the basis of every European agreement, but all 28 member states had to take part. She added that the Heads of State or Government also represented the national states and parliaments and that contact with the national parliaments was important. “Without this coming together, Europe cannot advance”.

Following the two leaders’ statements, the heads of the EP’s political groups had their chance to respond in a lively, and sometimes heated, debate. In particular, faced with virulent attacks from far-right and far-left groups both Hollande and Merkel took a united front, reaffirming their joint commitment to the European project.