Strengthening friendship

Treaty of Aachen Strengthening friendship

In the Coronation Hall of Aachen’s Town Hall, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will today sign the Treaty of Aachen in the presence of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other representatives of EU institutions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the ceremony to sign the Treaty of Aachen.

In the Coronation Hall of Aachen's Town Hall, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron signed the Treaty of Aachen. In future the two countries intend to move even closer and address the challenges of the 21st century together.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

The Treaty of Aachen between Germany and France will help strengthen the friendship that exists between the two countries. In future they will move even closer together to address the challenges of the 21st century.

Aachen was chosen as the location for the signing of the Treaty because of what it represents in Franco-German relations. It stands for the shared roots of the two countries that go back to the early days of the Carolingian Empire more than 1,200 years ago, with Charlemagne as the original ancestor. Practically no other place in Europe better symbolises our shared origins. Aachen is the heart of Europe.

The invited guests who will attend the official signing of the Treaty include representatives of EU institutions and French and German constitutional organs, as well as citizens of the twin cities of Reims and Aachen, and representatives from the realms of politics, culture and civil society. Following the signing of the Treaty, the Chancellor and President Emmanuel Macron will take part in a citizens’ dialogue that will explore "Germany and France for Europe". They will engage in discussion with people from both countries.

In the service of Europe

The Treaty of Aachen is a commitment to a strong, viable, sovereign Europe. It takes the Franco-German friendship to a new level – a friendship for the good of Europe. 

This will involve even closer consultation and coordination on European policy, a robust common foreign and security policy and an economic area with common rules and regulations.

The new Treaty provides for regular consultations at all levels, in particular in the run-up to major European meetings, to identify joint positions and foster bilateral cooperation at government level.

The Treaty of Aachen builds on the 1963 Elysée Treaty, which made a historic contribution to reconciliation between Germany and France. The Elysée Treaty will remain in force in its entirety.

For peace and security

Military cooperation will also be strengthened under the provisions of the Treaty. The two countries are to devise joint strategic approaches regarding the design of the European Defence Union and within the scope of a close partnership with Africa, as well as in the context of peace and police missions.  

At global level, especially within the United Nations and other multilateral organisations, the two countries will also consult and coordinate even more closely in future. Together, they will work for an international order, and for values-based and rules-based multilateralism.

In foreign and security policy, France and Germany are to dovetail their cooperation more closely on the basis of existing commitments within NATO and the European Union.

With the establishment of a Franco-German Defence and Security Council, they are to provide reciprocal assurance of every possible support in the event of an armed attack on the sovereign territory of either nation.

France also supports Germany’s wish for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Global challenges in view

With the Treaty of Aachen, the economic-policy measures of the two countries will be linked in future, and the legal framework adapted accordingly.

Joint projects in the fields of climate, environment, health and sustainability are to be implemented swiftly in order to make both states more viable and competitive.

When the then Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle signed the Elysée Treaty, they laid the foundations for close bilateral cooperation and for further European integration. The focus was on reconciliation and encounter. After a century of terrible wars that was by no means self-evident.

Fostering exchange and encounter  

The Treaty is to offer specific solutions to make the everyday life of people living in border regions easier. Practical cross-border projects are to facilitate dialogue, including the establishment of joint nurseries and education facilities, emergency and health services and new industrial estates.

The Treaty also supports contact between French and German civil societies in the fields of education and research. One example is the promotion of new opportunities for encounter, with digital services and a shared culture and media space.

Young people in particular are to benefit from cooperation in the education and research sector, while language learning and the reciprocal recognition of school and professional qualifications are to bring together the younger generation in both countries. 

A common fund is also to be set up that will encourage and support citizens’ initiatives and town twinning schemes.