Siging of Aachen Treaty
22 January 2019

Treaty of Aachen: a new treaty to strengthen Franco-German cooperation and facilitate convergence between the two countries.

On the 56th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, the President of the Republic and the German Chancellor signed a new treaty in the city of Aachen (which is known as Aix-la-Chapelle in French), in the presence of the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the Council of the EU (whose presidency is currently held by Romania). This new treaty follows on from the 1963 treaty.

The treaty of Aachen is a treaty of Franco-German cooperation and friendship. It does not replace the 1963 Elysée Treaty, which underpins Franco-German reconciliation, but aims to build on it by adapting our cooperation to the key issues shaping the 21st century, in the interests of strengthening the European project.

This treaty has been signed against a fraught backdrop: amid international tensions, Brexit and the resurgence of nationalistic rhetoric in Europe. This treaty is not, therefore, merely a symbolic celebration of Franco-German friendship, but a tool serving a proactive, effective, committed and coordinated Franco-German alliance.

The aim of the 1963 Treaty was reconciliation; that of the 2019 Treaty is convergence (of our economic and social models, of our positions within international bodies, of our regulations in border areas, of our economic analyses), for the sake of greater European integration.
Treaty of Aachen

The Treaty also lays the groundwork for concrete cooperation projects:
  • A mutual Franco-German defence clause, founded on our European and international undertakings, by which Germany and France pledge to lend each other assistance by all available means, including armed force, should their territories come under armed attack. What that means in practice is, in the event of a terror attack for example, the deployment of assistance or intelligence to help the other country. This drives home, loud and clear, the message that the security of each country matters to the other.
  • Creation of a Franco-German digital platform of information and audiovisual content.
  • Creation of a Franco-German "citizen fund", which will be put towards financing new twinning partnerships and Franco-German civil society-led initiatives.
  • Creation of a Franco-German Council of economic experts, tasked with setting out economic policy recommendations for both governments: this will make a considerable contribution to the understanding and convergence between our two countries.
  • At local level, a cross-border cooperation committee bringing together all local stakeholders will define a cross-border development strategy to identify priority projects (infrastructure, shared public services, etc.). Legal tools are also in the pipeline to tailor local rules, at the request of local stakeholders, to the day-to-day realities of border regions. This marks a step forward in the day-to-day lives of the 50,000 French frontier residents in particular.

Watch out for fake news on this Treaty

Social media users are accusing the Government of being on the verge of "selling" Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. This is simply not so:
  • For the Treaty does not change our laws, and it obviously respects our Constitution.
  • For there is no question of making German the administrative language in Alsace and Lorraine (the Treaty simply encourages learning of the German language).
  • For France has no wish to relinquish or share its position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. However, France is in favour of Germany joining the UN Security Council as a permanent member, and this has been the case for a number of years.