The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle on Franco-German cooperation and integration
In January 2020, France and Germany started to implement the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and in 2019 they identified 15 priority projects to be followed by the Franco-German Council of Ministers.
During the Franco-German Council of Ministers in May 2021, the two States decided to continue on this path by launching 13 new cooperation projects on rewarding and complementary themes of the Treaty.
1. Increased cooperation within the United Nations Security Council, during Germany’s two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2019 and 2020.
This project has strengthened the bilateral dialogue between the French and German presidencies of the United Nations Security Council. In April 2019, the French and German foreign ministers launched the Alliance for Multilateralism, which aims to bring together countries that believe in the importance of cooperation for international stability. It has met 9 times since.
2. Creation of four integrated Franco-German cultural institutes (Rio de Janeiro, Palermo, Erbil and Bishkek) and colocations from five French and German institutes (Córdoba, Atlanta, Glasgow, Minsk and Ramallah). The first Franco-German cultural institute, “Kultur Ensemble”, opened its doors in Palermo in June 2021. It hosts, among other projects, a workshop for artists in residence.
3. Creation of a Franco-German digital platform with audiovisual content and information.
Several joint projects led by French and German broadcasters have been developed since 2020, such as the “European Collection” of high-quality audiovisual and documentary content from Arte, in collaboration with French, Swiss and German public broadcasters and the platform information on ENTR social issues, available for young Europeans aged 18 to 34 on social networks since summer 2021.
4. Extension of mobility programs, for example with the Franco-German Youth Office (FOJ), especially for young people with special needs, trainees and trainees, and the setting of quantifiable objectives. Although there has been a significant decline in physical mobility of students between 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic, FGYO has developed digital and hybrid exchanges between young people and proposed a plan for resuming student exchange programs. youth.
5. Creation of a common citizens’ fund intended to support joint projects set up by members of civil society, in particular citizens’ initiatives and town twinnings.
Since its launch in April 2020, the Franco-German Citizen Fund has supported more than 470 Franco-German citizen projects (369 in 2021 alone), 70% of which are carried out by French and German associations and half within the framework of a buddy program.
6. Creation of a cross-border cooperation committee responsible for developing a common strategy for identifying priority projects, monitoring the difficulties encountered in the border regions and proposing solutions to remedy them.
Since its creation on January 22, 2020, the day the Treaty entered into force, the Cross-Border Cooperation Committee has been fully mobilized to preserve and strengthen cross-border cooperation during the health crisis. The Committee has had a permanent secretariat in Kehl since 2021. During the last Franco-German Council of Ministers on May 31, 2021, it presented recommendations to improve the daily lives of people living in the Franco-German border area.
7. Joint implementation of a regional project reallocating the area adjoining the Fessenheim nuclear power plant, which has now been dismantled, by creating a Franco-German center for economic activities and innovation, integrating projects in the field of cross-border mobility, energy transition and ‘innovation.
Following the closure of the Fessenheim plant in June 2020, a joint feasibility study was launched on the implementation of innovative activities for the energy transition.
8. Improved cross-border rail travel, for example: Colmar-Fribourg, by rebuilding the bridge over the Rhine, depending on the results of the ongoing feasibility study, as well as the railway lines between Strasbourg and Frankfurt airport, Strasbourg and Palatinate and Saarbrücken and Paris .
9. Strengthening high-level bilateral cooperation on energy and climate, particularly for national plans. This should make it possible to share proposals for the evolution of the electricity mix, to study the possibility of establishing a common Franco-German scheme in national strategies and to create incentives to facilitate the achievement of national energy transition objectives.
By reaffirming joint support for the European Green Deal and emphasizing the importance of the ecological transition, the Franco-German Initiative for the European recovery from the coronavirus crisis, proposed on 18 May 2020, has largely contributed to its implementation. and European ambition for climate transition.
10. Creation of a Franco-German research and innovation network (“virtual center”) of artificial intelligence, based on the existing structures of the two countries.
The research and innovation network was set up in the spring of 2020. Two calls for projects in artificial intelligence were successfully launched in October 2020 (research) with €10 million in funding and in February 2021 (research and innovation) with €20 million in funding. funding. The first call for AI research projects was a great success, with 152 proposals submitted, 21 projects funded and some projects launched in the summer of 2021.
11. Space cooperation focus on three priority areas: promoting a common strategy for a more innovative Europe in the new space economy; cooperation strengthening the competitiveness of the space industry, in particular within an optimized industrial framework; consolidate Europe’s independent access to space by investing in research and development, industrial rationalization and preference for European launchers.
The space industry is one of the four key industries identified by the President of the Republic and the German Federal Chancellor for the recovery of Europe. A Franco-German agreement was signed in the summer of 2021 and several cooperation projects are underway.
12. Promotion of international guidelines on the ethics of new technologies and shared values in the digital spheres and digital society.
Franco-German coordination continued between the digital ambassadors, in particular within the framework of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. The signing of the Berlin Declaration on the Digital Society and Values-Based Digital Government on December 8, 2020 has helped to enact the main principles of the digital transformation of government. The agreement reached in December 2020 under the German Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union on the draft European regulation relating to the dissemination of terrorist content online marked a step forward in this challenge, as did the general guidelines established in Council of Ministers of the European Union at the end of 2021 on the proposed Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, which are expected to be adopted in 2022.
13. Creation of a group of experts in the social field, including the social partners, on “the future of work”.
The Future of Work Expert Group was launched in October 2019 in Paris. It met four times, providing a forum for exchanges on good practices, particularly in the area of professional training.
14. Cooperation within the European Union in the field of financial services and markets, in order to produce a quality regulatory framework, in particular for sustainable finance.
There is close Franco-German cooperation regarding the capital markets union and frequent discussions take place on sustainable finance.
15. Creation of a Franco-German Forum for the future, in the form of a platform for dialogue on the transformation processes underway in our societies.
Since the first meeting of its steering committee on July 7, 2020, the Franco-German Forum for the Future has been working on ecological transition and economic and social resilience, topics on which it should make proposals in the spring of 2022. The Forum will continue its work on ecological transition in its second cycle of work from the first half of 2022 and it will take stock of planning and land use planning.
In addition to the 15 priority areas, the two States indicated that they wanted to strengthen their cooperation during the Franco-German Council of Ministers of May 31, 2021. They thus committed to launching 13 new cooperation projects:
1. Develop a strategy to promote the partner’s language.
2. Contribute jointly to the Conference on the Future of Europe, by adding a Franco-German dimension.
3. Launch a joint working group on gender equality, families and social cohesion.
4. Work for a closer partnership with Africa in trade, the fight against climate change and support for the countries of the Sahel.
5. Further strengthen cross-border cooperation, in particular through the work of the Franco-German Committee for Cross-Border Cooperation, by initiating a dialogue to improve the management and prevention of health crises in the border region and by establishing a joint survey on the living situation in the border region in order to improve the development of cross-border policies.
6. Develop a Franco-German networking program for young leaders in close collaboration with civil society and private sector partners.
7. Work together to create new memorial sites to honor the victims of both world wars.
8. Further strengthen bilateral dialogue to resolve the issue of partial unemployment benefits received by cross-border workers, with a view to safeguarding the interests of these workers.
9. Work together to create a joint working group on a digital euro, composed of the ECB, the Member States and the Commission.
10. Establish night train connections between France and Germany, including between Paris and Berlin, as part of the Trans-Europ-Express strategy, from the end of 2023.
11. Develop more pan-European industrial cooperation and boost private investment, in particular on the major project of common European interest (IPCEI) on hydrogen and its derivatives.
12. Strengthen our digital sovereignty, particularly in the field of cybersecurity, with co-funded research projects.
13. Support North-South cooperation in the field of mathematics with the membership of Germany UNESCO Category II French CIMPA (International Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics).
Updated: January 2022