Merkel, Macron hold ceremonial meeting before 100th anniversary of World War I end

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

On Saturday, the day before Armistice Day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a ceremonial meeting at Compiegne in northern France. There, 100 years prior, an armistice was signed, ending fighting between the Allies and Germany in World War I. This was the first time a German leader had visited the site since 1940.

The forest near Compiegne is also where France signed its surrender to Germany during the Second World War.

The two leaders commemorated the occasion with a plaque at the site to celebrate reconciliation between Germany and France. Merkel and Macon then signed a vistors' book in a railway carriage modeled after the original used in 1940. In contrast to German and French officials gathered in 1918 and 1940, the two leaders sat side by side.

Macron left for Paris later that day to host a dinner for several foreign leaders before commemorations on Sunday. The French president was to lead a ceremony on Sunday in Paris at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The French presidential palace — the Elysée — called the Merkel–Macron meeting "highly symbolic".