NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 12:16
Members of Parliament, ministers and heads of government from France and Germany arrived one by one at the Sorbonne University in the heart of Paris this morning. Today they reflect on the 60-year-old friendship treaty between Germany and France.
After the accompanying ceremony, today’s so-called German-French Council of Ministers is primarily a moment at which Germany and France want to get closer again in turbulent times.
Noise on the line
In recent months there have been numerous indications that the major European powers were not aligned on important themes.
For example, France was annoyed by Germany’s stubborn opposition to the introduction of a European price cap for gas. There was also disagreement about arms and equipment shipments to Ukraine, and how quickly that should happen.
Rumors of noise on the line between the two European superpowers intensified when Germany canceled the joint cabinet meeting with France at the last minute in October.
Subsequently, January 22 was chosen as a new date, sixty years after the signing of the treaty of friendship between the countries.
France and Germany concluded the so-called Élysée Treaty on January 22, 1963, which sealed the post-war reconciliation between the countries. Konrad Adenauer signed the treaty on behalf of Germany. Charles de Gaulle signed on behalf of France. It was also agreed that the governments would consult with each other on a regular basis.
Since 2003, this consultation has taken the form of a Franco-German Council of Ministers, which is held on average twice a year. Today’s meeting is the first physical meeting since 2019. Due to corona, the meeting in 2020 was canceled. Last year, consultations were held by telephone.
The signing of the treaty in 1962, with Adenauer (left) and De Gaulle (right)
In the run-up to the bilateral meeting, German Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron emphasized their mutual agreement.
On Friday, they wrote in a joint opinion piece, which appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Journal du Dimanche, that they are on the same page when it comes to “the fundamental questions about the future of Europe”.
This should become clear today in the joint statement that is expected after the summit. After the ceremony at the University of Sorbonne, the cabinets of Germany and France move to the Élysée for consultation.
A lot of space has been reserved on the agenda for the war in Ukraine and the European response to US President Biden’s plan, whereby the US government will only provide subsidies for electric cars if they are made in the US.
In response, France wants to adjust the European subsidy rules. Berlin warns against protectionism.
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