Merkel and Hollande's date with destiny – and they insist the chemistry is working

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The Independent Online

France and Germany marked half a century of post-war partnership with celebrations and grand displays of unity in Berlin today despite serious differences over a common vision for the future of Europe and its single currency.

Before attending a celebratory concert at the Berlin Philharmonic, the two parliaments held a crowded joint session in Berlin's revamped Reichstag building to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.

The landmark accord sealed post-war reconciliation between the former enemy nations, which had been at war with each other three times in less than a century. French President François Hollande said the euro crisis had been "virtually overcome", while Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that, contrary to several reports, the chemistry between the leaders "actually worked".

Commentators have remarked, however, that the Franco-German motor – once the driving force behind the European project – is hardly revving. Mr Hollande and Ms Merkel still have to resolve the euro crisis. Mr Hollande remains a strong advocate of growth while Ms Merkel continues to insist on austerity.