What to get the French president who has
everything and is at his last EU summit? German Chancellor Angela Merkel
decided the answer was an antique beer stein
At festivities for the 50th anniversary of the European Union Sunday,
the German chancellor presented the French president Chirac with a rare
18th century mug during a luncheon for the 27 EU leaders.
"We gave him a beer mug to add to his collection," a beaming Merkel told reporters after hosting
a summit on the 50th anniversary of the EU's founding Treaty of Rome.
"It's a piece of history," she said, noting that it dated from a time
when "Napoleon was fighting in Egypt."
"He has left his mark on Europe in a very positive sense," she said.
"There was a very generous round of applause for him" from the other EU
Chirac congratulated Merkel for hosting the European birthday party in
Berlin, which included cultural events over the weekend throughout the
capital and the signing of a declaration on the bloc's principles and
And he thanked her for her presidency of the EU, which runs to June 30,
saying the union could not move forward without Franco-German cooperation.
"No progress in Europe is possible if there is not agreement between
France and Germany," Chirac said, calling the city of Berlin a "symbol of
"If there is Franco-German agreement, things move forward, more or less
quickly, but if you do not, you have gridlock."
The 74-year-old Chirac, who has been active in French politics for more
than 40 years, ruled out seeking a third term as president this month.