A joint statement reaffirmed France and Germany’s shared determination to foster a more effective European Union that is better able to take action, at a time of growing geopolitical challenges.
At the first Council of Ministers since the Treaty of Aachen was signed in January 2019, the two sides discussed objectives achieved to date and agreed on additional cooperative projects.
Meeting with President Emmanuel Macron
Following a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, the Chancellor praised in particular the cooperation between Germany and France in the border regions of the two countries. "The fact that we now have a people’s fund, that we regularly discuss cross-border cooperation within the scope of a committee, that we have mobility programmes for young people, and that we have a strategy for the future, all these steps demonstrate that we have already made progress here."
In conjunction with climate action she stated, "Germany and France will be collaborating very actively on the European Green Deal. In Germany we are extremely committed at present in terms of national implementation."
She also underlined the importance of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council. "If Germany and France push ahead with joint development work in the fields of aircraft and tanks, this can really generate a huge momentum, as is the case with Airbus," said Angela Merkel.
With a view to cooperation within the framework of the United Nations, she declared that Germany, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, is working very closely with France. "The meeting to advance multilateralism during the UN General Assembly was without any doubt a very important point in order to demonstrate our common views," she said.
Angela Merkel then pointed to the excellent cooperation within the EU. With reference to the common initiatives to rework the Dublin Agreement, she said, "If Germany and France do not stick together on this matter, we need not expect to see any progress at all in Europe."
In conjunction with the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the Chancellor stressed that the Council of Ministers has demonstrated that Germany and France are determined "to take steps to ensure the future of the European Union with 27 member states".
Bilateral minister-level talks
During the bilateral meeting of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, bilateral minister-level talks were held, and the Franco-German Defence and Security Council met.
Then the Franco-German Council of Ministers met, jointly chaired by the French President and the Chancellor. The day was rounded off by dinner with the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT).
Focuses of the Council of Ministers
At the Council of Ministers the two countries discussed various cooperative projects launched under the provisions of the Treaty of Aachen.
They include promoting direct contacts between people living in areas close to the common border, founding cultural institutions and establishing a people’s fund for specific cooperative projects.
The talks also looked at cooperation within the framework of the European Union. The aim is to ensure that in future Germany and France meet for discussions prior to every European Council meeting, and ideally agree on common positions.
Other priorities included cooperation arrangements in the defence industry, on climate policy, on security issues and on resolving international conflicts.
The Chancellor was accompanied to the Council of Ministers by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier, Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek, the Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth, the State Secretary at the Federal Transport Ministry Enak Ferlemann, and the Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Germany for Cultural Affairs under the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation, Armin Laschet.
The Treaty of Aachen builds on the 1963 Elysée Treaty, which made a historic contribution to reconciliation between Germany and France. The aim is to ensure security and prosperity for the people of both countries, and to make a joint contribution to building a strong Europe that can take effective action.
Visit to Airbus
Earlier in the day the Chancellor visited the Airbus plant in Toulouse, where she spoke with German and French employees. After a meeting with young people from Germany and France she was received in Toulouse by the Prefect of Haute-Garonne.