Press Release: 60 years of Elysée Treaty
On Saturday, January 21, the French Association pour la Renaissance Européenne, the European Dialogue Program of Friedrich-Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Paris Chapter of the German liberal party FDP organised a panel discussion in the French National Assembly to celebrate 60 years of the Elysée treaty and Franco-German friendship.
The meeting, hosted by Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, president of the Committee of European Affairs of the French National Assembly, gathered around 150 citizens to discuss what the Franco-German cooperation means for the European Union during the first roundtable and how the bilateral collaboration can be fostered during a second roundtable.
The two Members of the European Parliament, Jan-Christoph Oetjen (FDP/Renew Europe) and Valérie Hayer (Renaissance/Renew Europe) agreed that a Franco-German compromise is often the starting point for further discussions with the other Member States. For instance, a Franco-German agreement paved the way for the Next Generation EU fund. More interaction is needed though between national and European members of Parliament as national deputies sometimes lack an understanding of the complex EU legislative process. Other Member States expect France and Germany to take over a leading role according to Italian MEP Sandro Gozi. But there is also a fear of other smaller Member States such as those from Eastern Europe to be overruled by France and Germany as stated by policy analyst Lukáš Macek from the Institut Jacques Delors. Germany and France have heteroclite relationships with the Eastern European countries as Germany is seen as a more natural ally and the relationship with France is therefore marked by more scepticism and potential mistrust.
In the second roundtable the members of the French and German Parliaments, Brigitte Klinkert, Sylvain Maillard and Sandra Weeser agreed that the parliamentarian collaboration between the two countries is crucial for a better understanding of French and German policymaking. Chairman of the Franco-German Parliamentarian Assembly, Brigitte Klinkert stressed that both parliaments should not only work within the formal framework of the common Assembly but also find more informal and regular ways of communicating as well as collaborating via their respective committees on specific topics. Sandra Weeser, member of the board of the Franco-German parliamentarian Assembly, added that the role of the Franco-German assembly consists in narrowly monitoring the French and German governments implementation of the Aachen treaty dating back to 2019, which sets more ambitious goals than the Elysée treaty by suggesting a roadmap of concrete initiatives. The Franco-German parliamentarian group, hosted by French Renaissance MP Sylvain Maillard, is also a ‘friendship’ group which exists in parallel to the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly. The friendship group intends to strengthen relations between parliamentarians and deepen knowledge of the working methods of parliamentarians through mutual exchange formats for example through a short internship with their counterpart.