But this tiny state on the French-German border has had a turbulent 20th century. From not even existing before , Saarland has switched back and forth between German and "internationalized" status, and was even offered independence — but 60 years ago on Friday, it voted to become part of Germany. The event — also attended by Saarland Minister-President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer — marks 60 years since the referendum that saw Saarland finally become part of Germany. A major factor blocking European integration and co-operation between France and Germany in the s, it was "a question that absolutely had to be resolved," he explained. But Merkel's involvement on Friday "confirms once again that crises and problems in German-French co-operation - which often stem from the many differences between these countries - can always be mutually solved and further consolidate the partnership," he explained.