The Cabinet gave its consent today (9 January) to the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration (Treaty of Aachen), which will be signed by Federal Chancellor Merkel and President Macron in Aachen on 22 January 2019. The new Treaty will not replace the Elysée Treaty of 1963, but rather build on it. Both treaties will be on an equal footing.
Fifty-six years ago, Germany and France drew the lessons from their bloody past by concluding the historic Elysée Treaty, setting out a major new course for their relationship. What for centuries had been regarded as a traditional enmity was able to develop into Franco-German friendship. The confrontation that time and again led to wars which wreaked havoc on Europe became the engine of European integration.
Preparing for the future together
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said:
With the new Franco-German Treaty we are now focusing on our common future. We are pooling our strengths to ensure our countries are well equipped to face future challenges in fields such as digitalisation, education and technology. And we are joining forces to fight for a strong Europe that is capable of taking action, a peaceful world and a rules-based international order.
Germany and France firmly believe that closer cooperation does not come at the cost of national sovereignty, but instead makes countries stronger together. They will thus not only remain committed to the success story that is European integration, but also lay the foundations for the next generation to continue on this path.
The Treaty will significantly intensify cooperation with France on foreign and security policy, topics concerning the future, culture, education and cross-border collaboration. Germany and France aim to work even more closely together than before in the EU and United Nations. The priority of the Treaty of Aachen is to safeguard the future together. As a venue for dialogue and an interface between politics, business, research and civil society, a Franco-German forum for the future will develop joint answers to new challenges or needs for regulations.
Focus on border regions
Integration between border regions will be a priority in the future. The main aim is to reduce the disadvantages arising from a peripheral location by carrying out cross-border projects. Decision-makers in the border regions are to be given scope to go beyond the existing possible types of cross-border cooperation. The focus will be on tangibly improving people’s daily lives in border regions, such as the work of companies and administrations, day care for children, healthcare, schools and vocational training, cross-border job placement services and transnational infrastructure projects. The goal is to identify solutions for daily life in border regions that could point the way forward for European integration.