Franco-German cooperation is the engine of Europe’s future, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. Their comments came at a ceremony at Sorbonne University in Paris, attended by the governments and representatives of both countries to mark the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty between France and Germany.
Scholz described the cooperation between the two countries as a “compromise machine that allows opposite and divergent interests to be transformed into cohesive action.”
Macron said that Germany and France, having paved the way for cooperation, should act as pioneers in providing a new foundation for Europe.
The French president continued by saying that both Germany and France are “two souls in one body.” He also said that the key for the two nations is “building a new energy model, promoting innovation and the technologies of the future, and favoring a European Union capable of acting as an independent geopolitical power in defense, space, and diplomacy.
The Élysée Treaty, which laid the foundations for the historic reconciliation between Germany and France, was signed on Jan. 22, 1963, by then German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle at the Elysée Palace in Paris. The agreement was eventually ratified, and in 1988 Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Francois Mitterrand launched Franco-German government meetings on security and economic and monetary policy.
A major celebration of the 60th anniversary in Paris provided an opportunity to improve relations between the two countries, which have grown chilly in recent months. The war in Ukraine has led to disagreements between the two countries over energy and defense issues, which have grown to such proportions that the traditional annual Franco-German joint government meeting was postponed last October.
The previously smoother German-French relationship is complicated by the difference in temperament between the two leaders, which significantly shapes the nature of cooperation. Since Scholz succeeded Angela Merkel as German chancellor, France has often accused Germany of making decisions without prior consultation, while German diplomacy has made similar accusations against the Elysée Palace.
In their speeches at Sorbonne University, both leaders indicated their unwavering support for Ukraine against Russia for as long as necessary.
They will do so “together, as Europeans, in defense of our European peace agenda,” said Scholz.