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Germany – France Want “More Europe” …

  • January 23rd, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

verdun-flags.jpgThe French President, Francois Hollande, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, have affirmed their commitment to the strategy of consolidating and extending economic union, to support growth and fend-off recession in Europe.

They announced a joint initiative aimed at strengthening the Eurozone currency agreements, during a day of celebrations in Berlin, 22.1.13,  marking 50 years since their two countries’ official post-war reconciliation in 1963.

SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES

It was the anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, signed by President Charles De Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Ardenauer, which committed the two countries to regular consultation on foreign policy, defence and security matters; a road map for the relationship that would become a key factor in European unification.

In the process former battlefields, like Verdun (picture,) have become a peace park where the flags are flown together and visitors mingle in equal numbers from both sides.

This week in Berlin, they had a joint session of the two national parliaments, and a joint cabinet meeting, along with youth and cultural activities.

JOINT PLAN FOR EU ECONOMY, FINANCE

The plan for the Eurozone is to be worked out in time to present to a European Union summit in the middle of the year.

It’ll include new measures as part of the EU’s on-going “jobs and growth” initiative, and measures to stimulate competitiveness.

“We’re on the same wavelength”, said President Hollande.

“The chemistry actually works”, said Chancellor Merkel.

Since 2008, counter to commentaries foreshadowing a break-up of the European Union, as its solution the EU has worked more towards consolidation, closer cooperation, and expansion  of its central powers.

That has included the setting up of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to provide  huge loan guarantees for countries in grave debt since the Global Financial Crisis; Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain, most notably.

It has included also the formulation of  treaty powers; to make concrete, commitments on budget standards and finance by EU member countries, and develop new procedures in place for keeping watch on financial trends, and coordinating responses.

See EUAustralia Online: “EU Summit: Closer To A ‘United States Of Europe’”?, 30.6.12; “COMMENTARY: G20 And EU, Juggling Tight Money And Growth …”, 18.6.12.

The Eurozone is the group of 17 countries, out of 27 EU member states, which have so far begun using the common Euro currency. Financial crisis of the last four years has affected all of Europe, but the 17 states have had special needs to cooperate, as smaller countries in trouble cannot resort to devaluation, or permit further  inflation; while pressure on the currency in any one member state immediately affects the others. Members of the Eurozone are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

ELYSEE TREATY – BLUEPRINT FOR FUTURE

deutche_welle.jpgThe Elysee Treaty.

A backgrounder on the treaty published by the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (see, http://www.dw.de/in-brief-what-is-actually-in-the-elysee-treaty/a-16520266), describes it as a “blueprint for the Franco-German motor that would eventually drive Europe.”

It says in part:

Written in very factual language, the text was signed on January 22, 1963 …  at the Elysee Palace in Paris…

During the ratification process, the German Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, added a preamble that laid down the bond with West Germany’s trans-Atlantic partner, the United States, and expressed a commitment to German reunification. The preamble angered de Gaulle, who felt that the architecture of the treaty was being undermined. After all, de Gaulle had wanted to bind Germany tighter to France, to strengthen his standoffish foreign policy toward the US and the UK.

Close cooperation

The treaty stipulated that German and French government representatives should meet and speak with other at regular intervals. In addition, all major decisions concerning security and defence policy were to be coordinated; Article II of the treaty stated that “the two governments will consult each other, prior to any decision, on all important questions of foreign policy…”. This condition applied especially to any issues that had to do with the European Community, NATO and relations between Eastern and Western Europe.

In addition, Adenauer and de Gaulle also pledged a close cooperation in the areas of culture and youth policy, with language exchange and learning to be encouraged. This decision resulted in the founding of the Franco-German Youth Office in the summer of 1993…

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Reference

DWE, Bonn, “In brief: What is actually in the Elysee Treaty?”, 22.1.13. http://www.dw.de/in-brief-what-is-actually-in-the-elysee-treaty/a-16520266, (23.1.13).

DWS, Bonn, “German and French law makers convene …”, 22.1.13. http://www.dw.de/german-and-french-lawmakers-convene-on-elysee-anniversary/a-16542740, (23.1.13).

Gavin Hewitt, “France and Germany mark Elysee pact’s 50th anniversary”, BBC News, London, 22.1.13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21136315, (23.1.13).

Pictures  flickr

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