Germany approves new pact with France to replace Elysee Treaty

Germany approves new pact with France to replace Elysee Treaty

The German federal government approved on Wednesday the new German-French friendship treaty to replace the 1963 reconciliation pact and counter eurosceptic nationalism, Xinhua reports.

The treaty was approved in the routine cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said the German federal government. The treaty, as the succession of the 1963 Elysee Treaty, will be formally signed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Jan. 22 in Aachen.

The new treaty is a commitment to a strong, sustainable and sovereign Europe, said the German government in a press release, adding that the two countries have agreed in the new treaty to deepen the integration of their economies towards a German-French economic area with common rules.

The two countries also agreed for a stronger military cooperation, including the design of the European defense union. France supports the German request for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

The new treaty, which will be called Aachen Treaty, will promote the cooperation of Germany and France in areas of climate change, environmental protection, health and sustainability and digitalization.

The agreement brings a "new quality of cooperation" of both countries, said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert, saying "Germany and France want to face the challenges of the 21st century together."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, a local media group, that the new German-French Treaty will become a signal against nationalism and a great opportunity for both countries.

"In times when populists are once again talking about national egoism, we also unite a clear commitment: closer cooperation works not at the expense of our sovereignty, but makes us stronger," said Maas, adding that "It is about advocating a strong, empowered Europe, a peaceful world and a rule-based order."

The new Aachen Treaty is to be signed on the day exactly 56 years after the Elysee Treaty. West Germany's former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the then French President Charles de Gaulle had signed on Jan. 22, 1963 at Elysee Palace.

The Elysee Treaty signified the full reconciliation of Germany and France after the two world wars and established a "German-Franco axis" in the later development of the European integration.

The new Aachen Treaty came after the EU was facing challenges due to Brexit and immigration policies and Macron, an ambitious EU advocate, wanted to reform EU by working together with Germany.

Macron and Merkel had agreed to make a new treaty in January last year as the two countries were celebrating the 55th anniversary of formal reconciliation.

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