50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty
1. On 22 January 1963, General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer signed a treaty which entered history as the Elysée Treaty, setting the seal on France and Germany’s irrevocable commitment to peace, their peoples’ friendship and Europe. Today we are very proud to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of this bold text.
The two devastating global conflicts showed the horror of war and the immeasurable suffering inflicted by barbarity. The memory of these conflicts forms the bedrock of our reconciliation.
The Elysée Treaty signalled a fresh start in our relationship. It is more essential than ever.
In his speech at the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union on 10 December 2012, Thorbjørn Jagland, the Chairman of the Nobel Committee, described the reconciliation between Germany and France as “probably the most dramatic example in history to show that war and conflict can be turned so rapidly into peace and cooperation”. The relationship between our two countries is at the heart of Europe and gives us an exceptional responsibility.
2. Young people represent the future of Franco-German friendship. They are the priority in our relations. Since 1963, more than eight million young people have taken part in exchange programmes organized by the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO). We have decided to increase our support for the FGYO’s action by giving it resources commensurate with our ambition. Our young people must have the chance to carry out their plans and devote to it their energy and their drive for personal fulfilment. With this aim in mind, we will do everything necessary to give them access to the best education and to jobs, and for them to enjoy all the opportunities our two countries and Europe have to offer. We have decided to establish practical measures to develop young people’s vocational training and skills, including through bilingual courses.
3. A community of destiny and genuine European citizenship cannot be developed without a common area of education, knowledge and culture. With this in mind, France and Germany will develop concrete cooperation projects destined to inspire European initiatives. In the cultural sphere, they will promote partnerships in all areas and the deepening of a European economic and tax system protecting copyright, including in the digital field. Driven by the promising ties forged between their civil societies, they pledge to promote a sense of European citizenship which respects everyone’s distinct identity, by promoting the teaching of Europe’s history, the learning of other member states’ languages and the protection and development of Europe’s heritage.
4. Spurred on by France and Germany, the European Union has pursued a strong policy of promoting democracy, freedoms and European people’s economic and social progress, taking into account the principle of sustainable development, the completion of the internal market, greater cohesion and environmental protection.
We Germans and French, like all Europeans, can be proud of what we have accomplished. Our European model, a unique combination of economic success and social solidarity, remains as strong as ever. However, we shall be unable to play this exemplary role in future unless we share the desire to constantly update our European model while keeping its foundations.
The cooperation between our two countries – which is at the very origin of the European enterprise – reflects the importance of the Franco-German couple’s driving role. At a time when Europe is facing a crisis that is hitting Europeans hard, we are determined to develop Franco-German cooperation further and put it at the service of deeper Economic and Monetary Union, so that Europe may overcome the difficulties and enable us to emerge stronger from the crisis.
5. The competitiveness of our economies is one of the keys to our prosperity and to protecting our economic and social model. It will be an important theme of our cooperation. We shall step up our exchanges with the two sides of industry, in order to take joint initiatives to strengthen the competitiveness of our economies while ensuring a high level of social welfare. To this end, we invite the employers’ representatives, unions and employees’ representatives to create a Franco-German consultative working group that will propose joint initiatives.
6. Together, France and Germany have championed and defended the single currency. They agree about the crucial importance of stability and growth in the Economic and Monetary Union for the future of our two countries and of the European Union. This is an essential condition for ensuring that our European economic and social model can assert itself around the world. France and Germany are conscious of their special responsibility in this regard.
They will undertake ambitious initiatives to define the stages of this deepening and to establish the policies, instruments and democratic institutional framework necessary to make it a reality. France and Germany will present a joint contribution in May aimed at supporting the work done in the run-up to the European Council in June.
7. Beyond this, they will further new ambitions for European policies, particularly in the field of research and innovation, energy, transport, industrial policy, the digital economy, the area of freedom, security and justice – including through the establishment of a European public prosecutor’s office – and defence.
8. Our societies are experiencing profound demographic changes. They must adapt to tackle this challenge. In this context, solidarity between the generations, the work-life balance and the integration of everyone into our societies are crucially important. These challenges are therefore a priority for Franco-German cooperation.
9. We are determined to succeed with the energy and environmental transition in our two countries and to work together on deploying renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, developing new technologies, introducing new ways of financing investment, and deepening the internal energy market. We must move forward resolutely towards a real European energy policy. In this way we shall maintain our rank amid global competition and contribute to the fight against climate change.
10. France and Germany will continue their close consultation on all the important foreign policy issues. They intend to strengthen Europe’s role, objectives and voice in the world in promoting peace and security, advancing human rights, supporting development, combating poverty, protecting the environment and regulating international trade. The development of a strengthened Common Foreign and Security Policy, including through a Common Security and Defence Policy, will have to address these objectives. France and Germany will contribute to the emergence of a real common security and defence culture in Europe through the development of exchanges between young officers and the establishment of convergent strategic analysis. They will develop opportunities for joint action, and the necessary resources and capabilities, by harmonizing military requirements. In this context, they wish to strengthen the European defence industry.
11. In this year of both remembering and future commitment, France and Germany are conscious of the importance of their relationship in defining and implementing the guidelines that will shape tomorrow’s Europe. The Elysée Treaty is a source of inspiration for our action.
The cooperation between France and Germany must also involve the parliaments, which have this very day decided on a new stage in their joint work. The exchange initiatives that have emerged from civil society must also continue, to build on the rapprochement undertaken by the previous generations.
Our two countries pledge to honour the Elysée Treaty by working, through ever closer ties between their authorities and their citizens, to build an EU that preserves our European ideal of a society for all the European Union’s citizens./.