Jan.22 - The leaders of Germany and France have promised to put forward common proposals to deepen Europe's economic and monetary union by May, as they put on a show of unity on the 50th anniversary of the pact that sealed their post-war reconciliation. Sonia Legg reports
It's a partnership formed after a war - 50 years on, the battle in Europe is an economic one. And to win it France and Germany must have a good relationship. Both countries' leaders tried to prove they did as they celebrated the anniversary of the Elysee Treaty. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "It is perhaps our best kept secret, that the chemistry is right and we can work together well." (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOISE HOLLANDE, SAYING: "The Franco-German relationship is exceptional. We don't have a relationship like it with any other country in the world...it's unique within Europe because of what happened after two world wars." Markets have been relatively calm so far this year. But the euro zone debt crisis is far from over. And France and Germany still have serious issues to deal with, particularly France which last year lost its prized triple A credit rating. HSBC's Bronwyn Curtis. SOUNDBITE: Bronwyn Curtis, Senior Advisor, HSBC Global Banking and Markets, saying (English): "Germany has become a very strong financial leader in Europe whereas France is suffering somewhat. But I think overall it is still important that France and Germany get on and do work together to push the integration of Europe forward." Despite being born less than a month apart the leaders have little in common. Merkel preaches tight central control over European budgets while Hollande prefers sharing the risks. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "We both agree that competitiveness in a global context is of great significance, but that politically we can't create the framework alone for better competitiveness of our countries." They both want their employers and employees, to come up with ideas to help them. At the same time they're working on common proposals for deeper economic and monetary union - something they've promised to achieve by May.