Michael Georg Link, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, and his French counterpart, Minister Delegate for European Affairs Thierry Repentin, presented today (15 July) in Saarbrücken the Saarbrücken Declaration on Franco-German Cooperation in the Border Regions.
The city was also the venue of a conference on cross‑border cooperation chaired by Link and Repentin and attended by high‑level representatives of the Franco-German border regions. The conference was hosted by Saarland Minister-President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
At the presentation of the Declaration Minister of State Link made the following remarks:
“Franco-German relations are important for Europe in many areas. But in our common border region particularly, where for millions national borders hardly matter in daily life, the German Government feels a special responsibility and commitment. What we want here is in very practical ways to create better conditions for cross‑border cooperation.
I’m delighted that, at the invitation of Saarland Minister-President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, my French colleague Thierry Repentin and I today have the privilege of presenting the Saarbrücken Declaration. The Declaration reflects the input we’ve received from practitioners on both sides of the border. Our intention now is to give concrete effect to its ambitious yet realistic objectives by the stated target dates. This will make the most of the momentum provided by the Élysée Treaty’s 50th anniversary year. It will help us not only tackle cross‑border cooperation issues that still need to be resolved but also generate new ideas.”
Importance of cross-border cooperation
With the Saarbrücken Declaration the two Franco-German cooperation commissioners highlight the important contribution cross‑border cooperation makes to Franco-German relations and emphasize how it benefits people in their daily lives. They reaffirm their determination also in future to actively strengthen these close and wide‑ranging links between the two countries. The Declaration contains a detailed road map that over the next few years will see a series of ambitious and people‑centred projects implemented in eight priority areas.
Saarbrücken was also the venue of a conference today at which some 70 representatives of local, regional and national bodies discussed challenges and prospects for Franco-German cooperation in the border regions. The main focus was health care, transport and mobility, education and training, and the employment market.
In the morning before the conference began the two commissioners and the Saarland Minister-President visited the two binational centres of excellence in Saarland, the Franco-German Secretariat for Exchanges in Vocational Training and the Franco-German University.
Weimar Triangle in Heilbronn
This evening Minister of State Link and Minister Delegate Repentin will be in Heilbronn for talks with Polish European Affairs Minister Piotr Serafin. Tomorrow (16 July) the three German, French and Polish European affairs ministers will hold consultations on Europe at Kloster Bad Wimpfen.