Visit by Franco‑German tandem to the United States United States of America

03.03.2017 - Article

The Political Directors of the German and French foreign ministries have conducted a joint trip to Washington. With their visit, they underscored the need for a strong Europe.

A Franco‑German tandem visit to the United States: the Political Directors of the German and French foreign ministries, Andreas Michaelis and Nicolas de Rivière, have made a joint trip to Washington, DC, for official talks. The joint visit – which they used, among other things, to underscore the need for a strong Europe – also demonstrated the close friendship between Germany and France.

First joint visit

Andreas Michaelis and Nicolas de Rivière after their meeting with the National Security Council
Andreas Michaelis and Nicolas de Rivière after their meeting with the National Security Council© AA/Botschaft Washington

The first joint trip by the two Political Directors (from 28 February to 2 March) was not only a visible sign of the very close cooperation between France and Germany, for example on transatlantic issues. In view of the many trouble spots around the world (e.g. Syria, Ukraine, Yemen), it was also an opportunity to closely coordinate policy with the United States on other important political issues.

Their numerous talks with US government representatives and experts focused, among other things, on the stance vis‑à‑vis Russia, developments related to NATO and the relationship between the EU and the United States. It was not only with regard to efforts to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine that Michaelis and de Rivière emphasised that the United States is “an important partner”, one with whom they seek continued close cooperation. In view of the world’s trouble spots, Europeans cannot afford to be disengaged. Michaelis emphasised that the time has come to take concerted action.

The Franco‑German tandem is important for Europe

In their talks at the Department of State, with the National Security Council and in the United States Senate, the two Political Directors stressed the special role of the Franco‑German tandem for cooperation in Europe, in addition to making the case for a strong Europe. This is the right answer, they stressed, at a time when the world order is being reshaped.

Pursuing continued close coordination

The intention is for this first joint visit to initiate more close coordination on important foreign policy issues between France and Germany, on the one hand, and the United States, on the other hand. With this in mind, Michaelis, de Rivière and the US side agreed to continue their exchange at the level of experts.

Visit concludes with a discussion about the future of Europe

Michaelis and de Rivière wound up their visit by participating in an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. Both Political Directors gave speeches on the future of Europe and the transatlantic partnership and afterwards engaged in discussions with experts.

Find out more:

German Foreign Minister Gabriel and French Minister Ayrault: a strong European Union for a bright future (press releaese of 01 March 2017)

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