Leaders of Germany and France try to turn back tide of skepticism toward European project

Europe's union is facing its toughest year yet, as pressure to pull the EU's 28 countries tighter together instead risks pushing them further apart. So the leaders of Germany and France are trying to come to the rescue.

Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are making a historic appeal to the European Parliament on Wednesday. It's the first such joint appearance since 1989, days after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It comes as the union has been beset by divisions over migrants, debt crises and growing nationalist sentiment. The two leaders may face criticism from skeptical lawmakers.

Merkel said Europe faces a "test" over how it deals with Syrian refugees. She is expected to focus on the migration situation while Hollande is expected to speak about European solidarity.