Germany and France: Bilateral relations
France is Germany’s closest and most important partner in Europe. There is no other country with which we coordinate so regularly and intensively at all political levels and in all areas. The Commissioners for Franco-German Cooperation – Minister of State for Europe and Climate Anna Lührmann in Berlin and Minister of State for Europe Laurence Boone in Paris – are the Federal Government’s institutional bridge between Germany and France. In the sphere of cultural affairs which is subject to the legislative power of the respective country, the Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany for Cultural Affairs under the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation serves as the link to France. The two countries’ parliaments also work closely together. Since March 2019 the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly, comprising 50 deputies each from the German Bundestag and the French National Assembly, has convened twice a year. There are many different forms of close cross-border cooperation between German and French border regions. Since January 2020 they have been supported by the Franco-German Cross-Border Cooperation Committee.
The Élysée Treaty, signed by President de Gaulle and Federal Chancellor Adenauer on 22 January 1963, laid the foundations for this close cooperation. On the 40th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, 22 January was proclaimed Franco-German Day. The Treaty of Aachen, signed on 22 January 2019, complements the Élysée Treaty and gears our bilateral relations to the challenges of the future.
Germany and France are significant trading partners for each other in Europe. The Airbus aerospace company is a symbol of the success of the close industrial cooperation between Germany and France. The leaders of the biggest publicly listed companies in France and Germany meet annually with top-level politicians from both countries for the Franco-German Encounters for business representatives.
Numerous institutions and cooperation agreements shape bilateral relations: the Franco-German Youth Office established in 1963, the joint TV channel ARTE, the Franco-German Brigade, the Franco-German University and the Franco-German Institute in Ludwigsburg, to name but a few. There is also a dense civil-society network of Franco-German societies, regional partnerships and town twinning arrangements, school partnerships and special partnerships between German and French schools with bilingual sections.