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Franco-German cooperation
Franco-German cooperation

Source: Fotolia / fotomek

Based on the Élysée Treaty of 1963, regular working relations have developed between the German and French ministries, going beyond the joint summits of both governments which usually take place biannually. Since January 2003, the intergovernmental consultations have taken place in the form of joint cabinet councils (Franco-German Council of Ministers – DFMR/CMFA). This means that usually all members of both cabinets come together and discuss the latest and most important issues. Furthermore, the ministers address issues relating to their specific policy areas in bilateral talks with their respective counterparts.

On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty on 22 January 2018, the Assemblée Nationale and the German Bundestag adopted a joint resolution on the renewal of the Élysée Treaty.

The Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and of the French Republic have subsequently agreed on a new Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration. This treaty was solemnly signed by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron in Aachen on 22 January 2019, hence its name “Treaty of Aachen”. The Treaty of Aachen does not replace the Élysée Treaty from 1963, but rather builds on and updates it, allowing for both Treaties to apply equally. In the Treaty, France and Germany underline their shared commitment to facilitate cross-border mobility in the regions by, among other things, improving their rail and road links (Art. 16), to ensure climate change mitigation in all policy areas (Art. 18) as well as to intensify their cooperation in the field of digital transformation (Art. 21).

On 22 January 2023, the Franco-German Council of Ministers was held in Paris after an official ceremony to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty.

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) cooperates intensively with its French partner ministries, in particular the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion as well as the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty. As Germany is a very important trading partner for France (and vice versa), ensuring an efficient, sustainable and environmentally sound transport system as well as driving digital transformation while strengthening digital sovereignty in a digital single market are of vital interest to both countries. Well-functioning transport links, affordable and sustainable mobility as well as digital transformation and universal coverage with high-capacity telecommunications networks are prerequisites for the well-being of citizens and businesses.

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport and its French partner ministries strongly advocate projects of bilateral cooperation that contribute to sustainable development, economic growth as well as to a more environmentally and climate-friendly mobility.

Examples of key areas:

  • Intensified cooperation in rail transport; Franco-German high-level rail group (since 2010); implementation of the projects of the Treaty of Aachen; French-German Youth Train Ticket initiative in summer 2023
  • Cooperation in the field of transport and climate change mitigation (on alternative fuels and innovative drivetrain technologies, among other things)

    • Test Bed for Automated and Connected Driving (since 2017)
    • Intensified cooperation in the field of hydrogen; establishment of a Franco-German dialogue platform on refuelling and charging infrastructure
  • New opportunities provided by urban air mobility
  • Opening and exchange of mobility data
  • Exchange on sustainable operation and development of digital infrastructure

Moreover, there is a close coordination on European issues, in particular in the run-up to the councils of the EU transport and telecommunications ministers.

Since 2004, the ministries responsible for transport have also exchanged personnel on a regular basis.