No other country enjoys closer cooperation with Germany than France. The annual Franco-German Council of Ministers is an impressive symbol of this cooperation. This year the majority of the cabinet has flown to Toulouse for this occasion. Foreign Minister Maas emphasised:
For Europe to be strong, sovereign and based on solidarity, Germany and France must join forces. Together with Jean-Yves Le Drian, we have over the past months worked to establish a joint EU stance on Turkey’s military intervention in Syria, promoted de-escalation in the Gulf, and assembled an Alliance for Multilateralism at the United Nations.
With the Treaty of Aachen, too, considerable advancements have been made specifically with citizens’ interests in mind: Germany and France have also agreed on new procedures for cross-border cooperation and made progress on establishing a Franco-German forum for the future and a Joint Citizens’ Fund for civil society projects.
Full agenda in Toulouse
The day in the south of France was a full one for the Franco-German Council of Ministers. At midday, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron visited the Airbus factory, an outstanding example of Franco-German industrial policy. Afterwards, the Franco-German Defence and Security Council convened with Foreign Ministers Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves Le Drian and the two countries’ defence ministers. Here, the two countries pledged to cooperate more closely in the operational field, not least in Africa, and to drive forward joint projects in the defence industry.
In bilateral talks, the two Foreign Ministers coordinated their views on urgent international issues. In addition, Maas and Le Drian adopted a jointly drafted road map (read more about it in German) in which they called for faster and more effective action in the area of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), among other things. The two ministers also intend to continue to drive forward the Alliance for Multilateralism and to adopt an even closer common stance in key regions such as the Sahel and within the Eastern Partnership. At bilateral level, Germany and France today established the cross-border cooperation committee to remove obstacles in border regions. This takes the implementation of the Treaty of Aachen a crucial step forward.
Political declaration with a focus on climate protection and innovation
In the Franco-German Toulouse declaration (read the declaration in German), the main focus is on climate protection and innovation. Germany and France are strong advocates of the European Green Deal proposed by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, which is intended to make the continent carbon neutral by 2050. Both countries aim to establish more joint projects in the area of innovation and disruptive technology and also wish to give greater priority to this issue on the European agenda. Greater cooperation is also envisaged on European space policy and in connection with the reform of the European asylum system.