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France, Germany celebrate 50 years of post-war friendship amid crisis concerns

(Xinhua)

09:49, July 09, 2012

PARIS, July 8 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrated on Sunday the 50th anniversary of post-war unity, calling for close ties to seek a way out of the spiraling financial debt crisis.

During the symbolic celebration in the eastern city of Rheims, the leaders of Europe's key powerhouses reviewed a parade of French and German troops and listening to a children's choir in the cathedral's knave, a UNESCO world heritage side which was damaged by German bombing during World War I.

After tensions tainted Paris-Berlin relation over tools to end the eurozone crisis, Hollande called for "closer friendship" between the two countries and to "open a new door" to cement ties and work closely to ensure the financial and economic stability in the old continent.

"The European Union is going through a crisis - it won't be the first, it won't be the last. But ... it forces us to move toward a new phase of development," Hollande said.

"Mrs Chancellor, I propose to you that we, together, walk through a new door to years that will make the friendship between our two countries even deeper ... It is our duty but also our responsibility. We do not inherit a friendship, we renew it every generation," he added.

Visiting Merkel stressed the necessity to strengthen further relations in the single currency bloc to forge a solid front able to face any eventual turmoil.

"We must now complete at the political level the economic and monetary union. This work is worthy of Hercules but Europe is able," Merkel said.

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