Friday, Aug 18th

LATEST:
You are here: International International Merkel, Hollande plead for unity in face of EU crises

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

Merkel, Hollande plead for unity in face of EU crises

germanyfranceSTRASBOURG--German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, in a rare joint address to the EU parliament, called for unity in Europe on Wednesday to tackle a series of crises that have shaken the bloc to its core.

Reprising a historic appearance by predecessors Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they spoke in broad terms of stepping up cooperation to control migration, strengthen the economy and the euro zone and confront challenges from Russia as well as from Islamic State.

But a tone of mutual congratulation for the reunification of Germany and embrace of ex-communist eastern Europe into the EU over a quarter century was marred by vocal Eurosceptics in the Strasbourg chamber, whose rise poses a threat to the Union -- and to the re-election prospects in 2017 of both the conservative German leader and her Socialist French counterpart.

"This is a test of historic proportions," Merkel said from a shared podium where she exchanged frequent smiles and occasional asides with Hollande during nearly two hours of debate that offered little in the way of concrete new policy statements.

Acknowledging this year's troubles in cutting a deal to bail out bankrupt Greece and bitter arguments, especially with eastern states fearful of immigration, she said finding a common approach on absorbing refugees would lead to economic benefits, adding: "The opportunities are greater than the risks."

Describing a "succession of crises", Hollande warned of a "total war" between sectarian rivals in the Middle East that would reach European territory without global efforts to end the conflict in Syria. And he took aim at his anti-EU opponents, saying a retreat behind national frontiers would weaken France.

"Each crisis raises fears ... Nothing is more vain than trying to take cover alone," he said. "There is no alternative to a strong Europe to guarantee our sovereignty."

National Front leader Marine Le Pen responded with a furious attack on Hollande and his conservative predecessor when leaders of the parliament's main party blocs were given the floor. Addressing him as Merkel's "vice chancellor, administrator of the province of France," Le Pen accused Hollande of selling out to a Europe run from Berlin and labelled Merkel "totally irresponsible" for offering to take in more Syrian refugees.

From the far left as well as the far right, the chancellor heard critics of Germany's handling of Greece's debts and insistence on austerity budgets in the euro zone. Merkel hit back at criticism from the Greens over cheating in pollution tests by carmaker Volkswagen. The company was responding she said. And on a day when data raised concerns of an economic slowdown in Germany, she warned against using the scandal to damage the car industry and put many jobs at risk.

Recalling Kohl and Mitterrand in 1989, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said that at the time France and West Germany were a "partnership of equals" in the EU but that, weakened by the demands of the euro, France's voice was "little more than a pipsqueak" in a "totally German-dominated Europe."

That echoes more widespread concerns in the bloc that French economic weakness and the increase of German power brought by its reunification in 1990 has destabilised a bloc founded on the post-World War Two reconciliation of the two countries.

Merkel and Hollande, while insisting they will not dictate to the other 26 member states, appeared determined to try and counter suggestions the EU's "Franco-German motor" has stalled.

"We must employ much greater powers of persuasion in favour of our Europe," Merkel concluded. "I am glad, dear Francois Hollande, that after centuries of war and hatred between our two peoples, we are both here today fighting for this same goal."

Image
St. Maarten midday Weather Forecast for Saturday
Saturday, 17 October 2015
DATE ISSUED: Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC) VALID UNTIL: Sunday midday (12:00... Read more...
Image
SHTA poll: Businesses want anti-ship-jumping legislation
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Click here for SHTA graph pdf PHILIPSBURG--The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association... Read more...
Image
Dominica’s tourism sector ready to welcome visitors after TS Erika
Friday, 16 October 2015
ROSEAU, Dominica--“Dominica is open for business and ready to welcome visitors to its shores.”... Read more...
Image
Reparations Committee: Withdraw Queens’ names from Suriname’s highest mountains
Thursday, 15 October 2015
PARAMARIBO--Suriname’s National Reparations Committee NRCS has filed a request with President... Read more...
Image
Ex-US House Speaker Hastert to plead guilty in hush-money case
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHICAGO--Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to plead guilty in a hush-money case... Read more...
Image
Hillary Clinton to 'look hard' at Julian Castro as possible VP pick
Friday, 16 October 2015
WASHINGTON--Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton won the backing of Housing and Urban... Read more...
Image
Half a million Yemen children face severe malnutrition
Friday, 16 October 2015
GENEVA--More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of... Read more...
Image
Modi to open 70-year-old files in challenge to Gandhi dynasty
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW DELHI--Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will seek to unravel one of India's most enduring... Read more...
Image
Cuba in cash crunch due to low commodity prices, Venezuela woes
Friday, 16 October 2015
HAVANA--Low commodity prices, a drought at home and Venezuela's economic crisis have created a cash... Read more...
Image
Apple's newest courtroom foe is patent-savvy university
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW YORK--As a veteran of the global smart phone wars, Apple is used to courtroom battles with... Read more...
Image
Focus needs to be on fighting crime & helping unemployed
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Editor, With all of the political situation on the island, we can't lose focus on some of the... Read more...
Image
Had enough
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Queenie, My brother died years ago but his widow stayed close to our family. Eventually she... Read more...
Image
RBC St. Maarten Little League School Tournament
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Sister Marie Laurence defeated Leonald Conner in the RBC St. Maarten Little League School... Read more...
Image
Nadal trounces Wawrinka, Djokovic tames Tomic
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHINA-- Former world number one Rafa Nadal displayed more signs of a return to top form with a... Read more...
Image
Junk shop photo spurs quest to confirm Billy the Kid image
Friday, 16 October 2015
DENVER--For the $2 he spent to buy three old photographs, Randy Guijarro may have hit the mother... Read more...
Image
Few signs of improvement for NBA star Odom after collapse
Friday, 16 October 2015
LAS VEGAS--Pro basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom spent a third day hospitalized on... Read more...
Image
Bruney cruises into retirement
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ After three decade in cruise industry ~   By Alita Singh   Frank Bruney has seen tiny... Read more...
Image
ALL HANDS ON DECK, WE MADE IT!
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ Fair Transport Sailing Vessel Nordlys is launched ~   St. Maarten has been graced by the... Read more...
Editorial - Anybody’s guess
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Governor Eugene Holiday has decided to seek legal clarity on the current constitutional impasse.... Read more...
Editorial - Time is up
Friday, 16 October 2015
With so much ongoing constitutional turmoil, the fact that more than 100 people attended the... Read more...
Image
Saturday Oct. 17, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Image
Friday Oct. 16, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Notices October 16
Friday, 16 October 2015
General Meeting St. Maarten Professional Softball Association (SMPSA) general meeting for the... Read more...
Notices October 15
Thursday, 15 October 2015
General Meeting S.M.P.S.A. general meeting for the softball season 2016 will be held at Sundial... Read more...