Monday, July 9, 2012


Angela Merkel and François Hollande managed to project a little actual or simulated warmth yesterday as they celebrated 50 years of Franco-German entente. It's nice to see them thinking about something other than the euro for a change. The economic imbroglio, which has pushed all other aspects of the European project into the shadows for the past two years, was not allowed to obscure the importance of a partnership built on the ruins of three disastrous wars. The importance, and even the sacred memory: the two leaders joined in a service at the cathedral of Reims, and thus far I haven't heard any snippy remarks about violations of republican laïcité. For after all the cathedral itself, though a potent symbol of the French monarchy, was also a victim of one of those wars and therefore quite a suitable lieu de mémoire for a republican Catholic to meet with a German Protestant.

Now back to the euro. Because peace is not enough to ensure stability, as both leaders know well.

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