Willkommen auf den Seiten des Auswärtigen Amts

Rede anlässlich des deutsch-französischen Empfangs am 22. Januar 2019


Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi, Permanent Representative of France

Ambassador Gerhard Küntzle, Permanent Representative of Germany

Excellences, chers collègues, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Pour l’Allemagne et l’Autriche, on dit que les deux pays ont beaucoup en commun, sauf leur langue. Pour l’Allemagne et la France, c’est un peu pareil. C’est pourquoi pendant les rencontres franco-allemands, la communication va d’autant mieux si les deux interlocuteurs parlent, et utilisent dans leurs interactions, les deux langues, comme c’est le cas avec Jean-Louis Falconi et moi.

Cependant, pour aujourd’hui et en dépit de cette occasion solenelle, on va faire un compromis et utiliser l’Anglais pour vous addresser.

Excellencies, dear colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi and I are pleased to welcome you today in the German Residence, and we thank you for accepting our invitation.

In particular I would like to welcome Mr. Lassina Zerbo, ED of CTBTO, and Ms. Najat Mokhtar, DDG of the IAEA, representing DG Amano today.

This morning President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel signed a bilateral treaty on cooperation and integration. The ceremony took place in the Coronation Room of the Town Hall of the German city of Aachen.

Now, if it were just any treaty that was signed this morning, we would not have asked you to come to a formal reception today. I am sure you would agree that this would only be warranted under exceptional circumstances.

Well, these are exceptional circumstances! The Treaty of Aachen, as it has been called, is not only an update of the well-known Élysée-Treaty. Its working title, at least in its initial stages of drafting, was actually „Élysée 2.0“, and that stands for a further deepening and enlarging of our franco-german bilateral relations.

As you are well aware, the Élysée-Treaty was signed by President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer exactly 56 years ago, on 22 January 1963, and it has greatly contributed to the historic reconciliation between Germany and France after the Second World War. And I believe that it is no exaggeration to say that it is also an important keystone of today’s European architecture.

The new treaty, the Treaty of Aachen, stipulates an even greater convergence between our two countries. France and Germany jointly declare their willingness to face the challenges of the 21st century. The new treaty also stands for the preservation of a value and rules-based multilateralism, and it responds to the changes of our societies. It also recalls the Franco-German common responsibility to build a sovereign, united and democratic Europe.

In a very fragile and volatile international context, this treaty is not a mere symbolic celebration of Franco-German friendship, but a tool in the service of an effective, committed and coordinated Franco-German couple.

The fact that this new treaty is also being signed on the 22nd of January, like the Élysée Treaty, makes this day a historic date for our two countries. Since 1963, Germans and French, and especially young people, have celebrated this day together every year in a multitude of individual ways, and with this new treaty I think that this day has become something like a franco-german National Day.

Allow me to give you a few explanations of the content of the new treaty. As I already said, the treaty will further intensify the relationship between our two countries, which is very close already. This will cover all major policy areas, such as

  • Economics policy
  • Foreign and security policy,
  • Culture and education
  • Research and technology
  • Climate and environmental policy

as well as the cooperation and exchanges between neighbouring regions and civil society. This will allow us to press ahead with a joint effort aimed at increasing the security and well-being of our citizens.

The treaty will promote and further facilitate people-to-people contacts and exchanges among civil society. We will endeavor to jointly develop, in a sort of „laboratoire de l’Europe“, innovative European solutions for the convergence of communities and institutions on both sides of our common border.

I emphasize this last point because it shows that the cooperation between France and Germany is not meant to be exclusive, but it is open to all Member States of the European Union.

What are the next steps? As soon as the treaty will have been ratified by both sides, a joint franco-german ministerial council will commence the implementation of the agreed objectives and take a decision on a concrete franco-german agenda.

Furthermore, the two national parliaments – Bundestag and Assemblée nationale – have been active in the process of drafting the treaty and passed a joint declaration already last year. They are also planning to found a franco-german parliamentary assembly next month, consisting of 100 members who will meet twice a year in order to advance the convergence of the two countries also in the field of legislation.

What does all this mean for us here in Vienna? Well, in practical terms, our two missions will increase their coordination and cooperation in all areas, amongst other things through staff exchanges. We will continue to consult regularly to reach common positions on topics of common interest, for instance, for the subjects raised in the IAEA board of governors, on UNODC matters or for the promotion and universalization of the CTBT. As we have already done in the past, you will see us in joint demarches, or making more frequently statements also on behalf of each other. However, as I said earlier, this is no exclusive club. The history of the Élysée Treaty clearly shows the benefits which franco-german reconciliation did not only have for our two countries, but for the whole of Europa. This is also the spirit of the Treaty of Aachen which, at its heart, is a truly European Treaty.

We wholeheartedly invite you to celebrate with us today.


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