Germany and France aim to increase the EU’s capability to act by undertaking a series of measures to implement the Treaty of Aachen.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented as follows:
Only a strong and sovereign Europe that is capable of taking action will be able to assert its values and the interests of its people. The world around us will not wait for Europe. If we do not want others to decide over our heads, Europe needs to provide answers itself. Germany and France hold special responsibility for this.
Franco-German friendship will provide impetus for the EU in four ways:
(1) Strengthening European diplomacy
By creating a European Security Council and establishing more effective decision-making mechanisms in our common foreign policy, the EU’s capability to act will be increased. As regards the regional level, both countries support a new European Ostpolitik, a European China agenda and a joint strategy on Africa.
(2) A strong role for Europe in supporting a rules-based international order
Germany and France are putting multilateralism at the heart of their policies to an even greater extent. At the European level in particular, they want to join forces with other countries on climate protection. In terms of trade policy, they aim to strengthen the EU through new agreements and by working together in the WTO.
(3) A strong security and defence policy
Both Governments suggest pooling the Member States’ defence capabilities and enhancing military and civilian crisis management. They also call for a European Defence Fund in the EU’s next financial framework.
(4) A strong policy on industry and technology
How can Germany and France keep up with heavyweights in China and the US? The two neighbouring countries support ambitious European collaboration on key technologies such as telecommunications and artificial intelligence. Their aim is to develop a joint European industry strategy firmly based on the belief that “Europe United” is the only answer to “America First” and “China First”.