55 years of German-French friendship, 55 years of the Engine of European Integration

© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle signed the “Treaty of Friendship between France and Germany” on January 22, 1963 at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

55 years later we know that the Élysée Treaty wasn’t only a milestone of recon­cil­i­ation, it can be seen as the start of cooper­ation, which brought Germany and France closer together. The euphoric initial position of the past is still noticeable today: the incip­i­ently “Franco-German recon­cil­i­ation” became the “Franco-German friendship” – a true keystone of European Integration.

German-French bilat­er­alism became a true initiator of European Integration. Whether in the European Security and Defence Policy or in the Economic and Monetary Union, initially, it was always the German-French tandem that has sent out its impulses.

In this spirit, the German Bundestag adopted today for the anniversary a joint resolution with the Assemblée nationale, which calls for a strength­ening of the German-French tandem by renewal of the Élysée Treaty. European thinking is demon­strated by the Franco-German decision in support of citizens’ surveys on the future of the EU which are to be held later this year. A German-French parlia­mentary agreement, scheduled for January 2019, shall also strengthen the cooper­ation of both parlia­ments, for example, in the vote on EU issues.

The course of this success story and which scenarios with regard to future challenges are conceivable, are examined by the two well-known experts on French-German relationship Ulrich Krotz from the European University Institute and Prof. Dr. Joachim Schild, chair in compar­ative politics at Trier University, in our German Policy Policy Series (GEPS) No 01/18. Although the polit­i­cally intensive cooper­ation between the two countries has achieved great things, the new tasks in connection with a necessary reform of the European Union put the European leadership duo to the test.

On the occasion of the 55th Anniversary, the French Assemblée Nationale and the German Bundestag adopt a joint resolution affirming Franco-German friendship, also with regard to a deeper European integration. The resolution contains a request to both govern­ments calling for a renewal of the Elysée Treaty, as well as the drafting of a parlia­mentary agreement to intensify the cooper­ation of both parlia­ments until 22 January 2019.

To commem­orate this special friendship, we would like to refer you to our GEPS No 01/18 „France: Germany’s Indis­pensable Ally in European Policy-Making“.