German Chancellor Angela Merkel made all the right gestures Monday: the obligatory phone call congratulating French President-elect Francois Hollande. She vowed that the two will "work together well and intensively." And she invited Hollande to Berlin after his inauguration and said she would welcome him "with open arms."
But clearly the French election results mark a setback for Merkel and her goal of solving Europe's economic crisis with financial austerity.
German President Chritian Wulff has resigned amid questions about possible corruption, a move that leaves Chancellor Angela Merkel - already under pressure from the eurozone debt crisis - scrambling for a replacement.
Wulff stepped down from the largely ceremonial post two months after the German newpaper Bild published a story alleging that while he was premier of Lower Saxony, he had failed to disclose his links to powerful businessman Egon Geerkens.
Jiang Shixue is describing to me one of the most exciting moments of his life: The moment earlier this month when one of the most important people in Europe — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — came to visit his workplace.
"She said that the EU would be happy to see if China can offer a kind of helping hand," says Jiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
As European leaders prepare for yet another "last-ditch" effort to save the euro at a summit in Brussels, the leaders of the two eurozone powerhouses, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meet in Paris. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley talks about their meeting.