Sunday, May 29, 2016

Centenary of Verdun: Hollande and Merkel in the footsteps of Mitterrand and Kohl – Le Figaro

French President and German Chancellor Sunday commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Verdun. A Douaumont, in the afternoon, they will try to trace the prospects for a Europe in crisis and out of breath.

This is the first ten-year commemoration of the Great war after the death of the last hairy, the first to be held in the absence of a witness who directly experienced the event, and it is all the more moving. Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel Sunday celebrating the centenary of the Battle of Verdun, one of the deadliest battles of the First World War: a total of 163,000 French and 143,000 Germans will be killed in the mud of the trenches, rain shells . A tomb.

“The hands that look and who are, it is the symbol of reconciliation”

More thirty years after François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl holding hands honoring the memory of the soldiers of Verdun, 22 December 1984, the President and the Chancellor will deliver a speech in each afternoon, the ossuary necropolis Douaumont. After the picture (now iconic), the words, then. “The gesture of Mitterrand with Kohl, hands that look and who are, it is a symbol of reconciliation, said the head of state Tuesday on France Culture. What we have to do with the Chancellor, this is not a reconciliation, it is made (…) is set to say what we want to do in that moment for Europe “, while celle- is in crisis and reached “by evil populism”.

Before Mitterand and Kohl, General de Gaulle had commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Verdun, May 29, 1966. He spoke of the battle, what it meant for France and for the army, and the Franco-German friendship. It is in memory of this tribute old half a century that the organizers have chosen the date of May 29 Youth will be at the heart of this day of commemoration: 4,000 young French and Germans will attend

Before the speeches of Douaumont, Hollande and Merkel will meet at 10:30 am at the German cemetery of Consenvoye where their predecessors had. memorial began their visit in 1984. They will sign the guestbook and will receive a facsimile of the document signed by Mitterrand and Kohl ago over thirty years. They will then proceed to the Verdun City Hall: this is the first time a German chancellor will visit the city of Verdun strict sense. Merkel will give the city the price De Gaulle-Adenauer dedicated to the Franco-German friendship. As De Gaulle in 1966, they sign the guest book and the book of peace. Then, accompanied by the students of a class Verdun, Hollande and Merkel ascend the platform of the Republic to the memorial of Verdun, where they will lay a wreath. On the Causeway bridge, students will drop fly balls hit the dove of peace.

In the early afternoon, the two leaders will visit the memorial of Verdun renovated, they welcome the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker. The highlight of the day will then input the President and the Chancellor, accompanied each child in the vast nave of the Douaumont ossuary in which are buried the remains of 130,000 French and German soldiers. The bell will ring for kilometers around, in memory of that bloody battle. German filmmaker Volker Schlondorff will play 3,400 young people in a setting designed to honor the dead soldiers.

At midday, the two leaders will have lunch at the Verdun sub-prefecture. The opportunity to discuss the major European issues, particularly the refugee crisis that has shaken the Franco-German couple for months, or even assuming a Brexit, worries Europe in a month the British referendum on maintaining or not the United Kingdom in the European Union.


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