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IIEA marks 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty

25 Jan 2013

On Monday, 21 January 2013, the IIEA marked the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, which is considered a watershed in Franco-German relations. The Treaty, signed in Paris on 22 January 1963 by Chancellor Adenauer and Foreign Minister Schröder of Germany, and by President de Gaulle, Prime Minister Pompidou and Foreign Miniser Couve de Murville of France, set out a framework of close engagement between the two countries on a wide range of policies, including foreign policy, defence, education and youth affairs.

The Joint Declaration and the text of the Treaty can be found here in French, German and English (translation).

Download the Élysée Treaty in French here

Download the Élysée Treaty in German here

Download the Élysée Treaty in English here

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, the IIEA brought together distinguished analysts and commentators from France, Germany and Ireland: Thomas Klau, Head of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Paris; Dr. Jochen Thies, journalist and former speechwriter for Chancellor Helmut Schmidt; and Professor Brigid Laffan, Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics at UCD.

The day began with lunch hosted by the Chairman and the Director General of the IIEA and attended by the speakers mentioned above, representatives of the French and German Embassies in Ireland, current and former senior officials from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chairs of the IIEA’s Future of Europe, France and Germany working groups.

The main event, entitled 50th Anniversary of the Élysée Treaty: Continuity and Change in Franco-German Relations, was chaired by Marie Cross, chair of the IIEA Future of Europe Group.

Thomas Klau described the 1963 Treaty not as a beginning, but rather a culmination of attempts to reinvent the Franco-German relationship. He commented that this relationship is more important for its European than its bilateral function, but emphasised that it only operates in certain areas, primarily economic policy and the constitutional/institutional evolution of the EU. These, he noted have been at the heart of the euro crisis, which has reaffirmed the importance of the Franco-German alliance, even in an enlarged Union.

Dr. Jochen Thies warned against taking cooperative Franco-German relations for granted. He called for a renewal and a reorganisation of the relationship, in particular in light dempgraphic and intrgration challenges. Dr. Thies also explained that, while an all-party consensus still exists on Europe, the question of what is in Germany’s best interests is increasingly coming to the fore.

Professor Brigid Laffan gave a wider European and an Irish perspective on Franco-German relations, both past and present. She noted that the relationship between the two “indispensible” EU Member States is the most institutionalised bilateral relationship of any two countries in the world. She also discussed the implications for smaller EU Member States, calling those states to be attentive to whether the relationship is aiding or undermining the formal EU institutions.

A lively question and answer session followed the initial remarks from the three speakers. Questions were posed by IIEA members as well as by a group of secondary school students who are participating in a competition related to the Élysée Treaty.

The lunch and the event were supported by the Institut Français and the Embassy of the French Republic in Ireland.


Tags: Future of Europe,

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