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>> The leaders of France and Germany put pen to paper on Tuesday in a bid of bolster unity in the European union. That, as the EU continues to grapple with the challenges posed by Brexit and rising Euro skeptic nationalism. Reuters' Paul Carrel is in Berlin.>> Yeah, the time is very relevant, the Europe Union's got a number of forces testing its cohesion, pulling at its fabric, if you like, Brexit's obviously a big one.
But also, we've got differences over immigration policy and budget policy still stemming from the Eurozone crisis a number of years ago. So with this initiative today, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron wanted to demonstrate some leadership. And show that the Franco-German Axis, which has traditionally been at the center of the European Union, is still working and on track and ready to reform.
>> The accord signed by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in the German town of Aachen is light on detail. It commits to closer ties on foreign and domestic policy. It does little to advance Eurozone reforms. The document itself is an extension to the 1963 Elysee treaty, a concord of post-war reconciliation, signed by French president Charles de Gaulle and German chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
Ironically, perhaps, that was also the year de Gaulle vetoed Britain's entry into the European community, the precursor to the European Union. Now, Britain's EU exit, as well as nationalists' leadership in Hungary, Italy, and Poland have put strains on the 28 member block. In Aachen, they were keen to show leadership and a united front.
Outside however, they were met by both pro and anti EU protestors. A visual warning that the pen may not mightier than the discord.