The Franco-German Council of Ministers convened in Paris on Thursday (13 July) under the chairmanship of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron. Numerous ministers joined the heads of government to discuss common projects. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced the establishment of a Franco-German investment fund for start‑ups.
Modernising Franco-German relations
Culture, education, business and social affairs, security and defence – the meeting had a wide‑ranging agenda. Germany and France already enjoy close cooperation in all of these areas. “What we have achieved in Europe and between France and Germany in the past fifty years is unique”, said Foreign Minister Gabriel at the Council of Ministers.
The aim for the future is to expand these relations still further. “Another objective today is to modernise our partnership with France”, Gabriel added. “While there are many points of reference for us to work on, we are pleased to have an opportunity to inject new momentum into our relations as a whole”, said Chancellor Merkel prior to the meeting. The Council of Ministers is therefore looking to provide fresh impetus. A range of bilateral initiatives were presented. For instance, the joint work of cultural institutes is to be expanded as well as cooperation between the German and French foreign services.
“Doing more for and in Europe”
Germany and France do not want their cooperation in all of these areas to be confined to the bilateral level. On the contrary, the aim is to enshrine the Franco-German partnership even more strongly within a common Europe. “We must do more together in and for Europe”, stated Gabriel.
Particularly important priorities here are closer cooperation on issues of common security, as well as joint European engagement in Africa. It was with this in mind that the Franco-German Security and Defence Council also convened prior to the meeting.
Investment fund for start‑ups
European start‑ups are also set to receive greater support in the future. “I am delighted that we finally have an opportunity to reach an agreement on a joint Franco-German investment fund at the Franco-German Council of Ministers today”, said Gabriel.