Chirac, Merkel renew Franco-German bonds

23rd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 23 (AFP) - French president Jacques Chirac and Germany's new chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday stressed their shared commitment to a strong Franco-German partnership as a driving force within Europe.

PARIS, Nov 23 (AFP) - French president Jacques Chirac and Germany's new chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday stressed their shared commitment to a strong Franco-German partnership as a driving force within Europe.

Chirac said that the two countries were united in their wish for "a political and social Europe" and that "a truly strong Franco-German axis" was necessary for the 25-member European Union.

Merkel, the conservative leader of a rare left-right coalition, made France her first foreign destination as German chancellor, in a move seen as a fresh affirmation of the strength of the Franco-German relationship.

"This is not about ritual, it is about a deep conviction that a strong relationship between Germany and France is both necessary and beneficial to Europe," Merkel told reporters.

Merkel said that she wished to keep up the "rythym" of Franco-German meetings, and invitated Chirac to visit Berlin in early December.

The president said he saw as "a sign of friendship" the fact that Merkel chose France as the first destination on her maiden foreign trip as leader of Germany's biggest economy.

Travelling with German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, she was due later Wednesday to travel on to Brussels for talks with EU and NATO chiefs, and fly Thursday to London to meet prime minister Tony Blair.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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