STRASBOURG - Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande address the European Parliament on Wednesday, hoping to bolster EU cohesion to face interlocking crises in an echo of Franco-German unity in the days after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
As Germany marks a quarter century since the reunification of east and west in October 1990, the German chancellor and French president will speak on the challenges facing a European Union altered beyond recognition since their predecessors, Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand, made the last such joint appearance in the Strasbourg assembly on Nov. 22, 1989.
"This is a historic visit for historically difficult times," said parliament speaker Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat who has sought to forge closer ties between Paris and Berlin.
"The EU is facing immense challenges and requires strong commitment by its leaders."
High on their agenda will be the migration crisis around refugees from the Syrian civil war whose arrival in the hundreds of thousands in recent months has created bitter divisions among the 28 states of the European Union and seen border controls reimposed across a continent where their disappearance since the opening of the Iron Curtain is cherished as a major achievement.