On 22 January 1963, Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle laid the foundations for reconciliation between Germany and France by placing their signatures under the Élysée Treaty, only 18 years after the end of the Second World War. It was the end of centuries of rivalry between the two countries. As well as regular meetings of government representatives, the Treaty stipulates close cooperation and coordination on all key issues of foreign, security, youth and cultural policy.
Promotion of the respective partner language and the foundation of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) are also anchored in it. Since its establishment in 1963, the Youth Office, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in July, has enabled more than 9.5 million young people to participate in over 382,000 exchange programmes.
The Franco-German friendship is the core of our political identity. Our friendship remains the key to peace in Europe. […] We must invest in this friendship every day, with personal encounters, with concrete projects, but most of all with heart and soul, because our friendship remains the key to peace in Europe. – Foreign Minister Baerbock speaking in the Bundestag on 20 January 2023 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty.
23rd Franco-German Council of Ministers
The Franco-German Council of Ministers, which convened on 22 January for the 23rd time, is a symbol of the close partnership. At the invitation of President Macron, it was attended by the entire German Cabinet alongside Chancellor Scholz. Foreign Minister Baerbock and Minister of State Lührmann, Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation, travelled to Paris on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office.
The focus of this year’s Franco-German Council of Ministers were the strategic and security policy challenges confronting Europe in light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The two Governments also discussed European responses to energy and climate policy-related challenges, and economic and social issues as well as further development of the EU to enhance its capability to act.