France, Germany responsible for tackling Europe's challengs – Hollande

PARIS, May 29 (KUNA) — French President Francois Hollande said Sunday his country and Germany have to work together for addressing the fragile situation in Europe as a result of turmoil in some parts of the continent and neighboring regions.
“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,” France 24 news network quoted him as saying.
Hollande made the comments during ceremony he jointly observed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Verdun city, northeast France, to mark the centenary of the Verdun Battle – one of the longest in World War I.
The unrest in a country could have serious spillover on a nearby region in its entirety, he said, citing as an example the instability in Ukraine and some countries in the Middle East countries.
France and Germany share the responsibility for protecting Europe against the possible break-up as a result of the referendum in Britain next month on possible quit from the EU, he stressed.
The EU member countries face the challenges of Islamist militant attacks, the biggest migrant crisis since World War II and a slow economic recovery, which added strains on their relations, he added.
On her part, Merkel said the EU members will continue to have different views on certain issues.
“That is in the nature of things but it will prove beneficial if we demonstrate our ability to compromise to reach an agreement,” she noted.
During the ceremony in Verdun, Hollande and Merkel laid a wreath at the Douaumont cemetery for the 300,000 soldiers killed; they also visited the German cemetery Consenvoy to lay a wreath.
The Verdun battle lasted for more than 300 days from February to December 1916, and its commemoration has come to signify the reconciliation between Germany and France after decades of hostility and distrust following two world wars. (end)

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