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Aachen Treaty

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At a ceremony in the German border city of Aachen, an historic symbol of European concord, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron sought to show they can provide fresh leadership for the troubled EU project.

But some analysts doubt that France and Germany can still lead an EU that has grown to 28 members with diverse and often conflicting interests and priorities.

The two leaders want the 16-page Aachen Treaty, negotiated over the past year to update the 1963 Elysee Treaty, to give an impulse to European unity that has been strained by Brexit, immigration and the euro zone crisis.

“We are doing this because we live in special times and because in these times we need resolute, distinct, clear, forward-looking answers,” said Merkel, noting Aachen was home to Charlemagne, whom she dubbed “the father of Europe”.

Macron added: “At a time when Europe is threatened by nationalism, which is growing from within … Germany and France must assume their responsibility and show the way forward.”

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