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The first anniversary of the Treaty of Aachen: Germany and France are growing even closer together France

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, © Felix Zahn/photothek.net

22.01.2020 - Article

Since the signing of the new friendship treaty, the Federal Government has been working with great ambition to promote its implementation, for example in cross-border cooperation and with an increased number of contacts among young people.

It has been a busy and intensive year with respect to Franco-German relations since both Governments signed the Treaty of Aachen in the Coronation Hall of Aachen Town Hall on 22 January 2019. Back then, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the Treaty’s objective was to put “our friendship in the service of a strong, functioning Europe”. One year later, its implementation is progressing apace, and the Treaty of Aachen is formally entering into force today.

Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement in this regard:

Since the signing of the Treaty of Aachen one year ago, Germany and France have achieved a great deal together: from closer cooperation in the border region to an increased number of youth exchanges and the joint initiative supporting the Alliance for Multilateralism. I want to continue to work on this together with Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Borderless cooperation

Today, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Treaty of Aachen, the Franco-German Cross-Border Cooperation Committee is meeting for the first time in Hambach Castle under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth and his French counterpart Amélie de Montchalin. A key project envisaged by the Treaty of Aachen is thus being implemented. Both sides want to pool expertise gained in the border regions, German Länder and French départements and at national level with a view to identifying joint solutions more easily. Bureaucratic obstacles are to be removed, and transport and energy networks better connected.

Greater youth exchange and open dialogue

Each year, the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) supports more than 9000 programmes for young people aged three to thirty. As part of the Treaty of Aachen, its budget is being increased once again, and Germany and France are creating more opportunities for their young people to get to know each other. Through a new Joint Citizens’ Fund, many committed German and French people can obtain funding for tangible projects.

The Franco-German forum for the future agreed to in the Treaty of Aachen will also be commencing its work in the near future. This forum will serve as a platform supporting dialogue between members of the public and experts on major transformation processes in the social, economic and environmental domains.

A strong team for Europe and the world

A cornerstone of Franco-German cooperation in 2019 was the coordination of the agendas of the successive French and German Presidencies of the UN Security Council in March and April 2019. Joint projects are also planned again during the countries’ next Presidencies in June and July 2020. Germany and France are also acting in concert in cultural diplomacy worldwide. The two Governments are promoting the establishment of joint cultural institutes as platforms for European cultural cooperation throughout the world. In Baghdad, the Goethe-Institut will take up its work under the auspices of the Institut Français, and joint Franco-German cultural institutes are set to open their doors in Rio de Janeiro and Palermo in 2020.

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