They will take advantage of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty to try to bury the tensions between them
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty of Franco-German cooperation this Sunday in Paris. Both leaders will take advantage of the anniversary to relaunch the Franco-German motor of the European Union, seized in recent months by the little personal chemistry between them and the fundamental differences between Paris and Berlin in matters of defense and energy policy.
The Élysée Treaty, signed on January 22, 1963 by German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and General Charles de Gaulle, sealed the reconciliation of France and Germany after World War II. This agreement was extended in 2019 by the Aachen Treaty, signed by Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The annulment last October of the Franco-German Council of Ministers revealed the bad moment that relations between Paris and Berlin were going through. Officially, the Élysée and the Foreign Ministry alleged scheduling problems for the ministers and the need for more time to agree on defense and energy issues.
Macron and Scholz will try in Paris to turn the page on the tensions of the last year. It will be the first Franco-German council of ministers chaired by both. The last one that was held dates from May 2021 by videoconference, with Merkel still as chancellor.
Last Thursday, with Spain
On the eve of their meeting, in a press article signed jointly by both and published this Saturday by the French ‘Le Journal du Dimanche’ and the German ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’, Macron and Scholz called to reinforce “the sovereignty” of the European Union. “We share the same ambition: that of a resilient, powerful and sovereign European Union. Even in cases where we differ, we are more determined than ever to come up with common responses, responses that we are going to study with our European partners,” they pointed out.
This Franco-German summit comes just three days after Macron signed a new friendship and cooperation treaty with Spain last Thursday. Sources from the Élysée Palace explained that “the fact that we strengthen and better structure our relations with the Spanish obviously has no effect on the way in which we view our relations with Berlin.”
Young Frenchmen, also against the pension reform
Two days after the great protest against Macron’s claim to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64, young Frenchmen also demonstrated in the streets this Saturday. “Young people say no to retirement at 64,” read their header banner in the Parisian march that, according to the organizers, brought together 150,000 people.
Macron wants to raise the retirement age from the current 62 to 64 in 2030, but most French people oppose working two more years to collect a pension. Last Thursday, more than a million citizens, according to the police, protested throughout the country against the pension reform. The unions counted two million demonstrators on that first day. The next appointment will be on January 31.