Anniversary of the Elysée Treaty 22 January 2018 Speech of the French Ambassador to Turkey, H.E.M. Charles Fries [tr]
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear colleagues, dear friends,
Hepinize hoş geldiniz,
It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you to the French Embassy ! We are gathered here this evening to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty between France and Germany. I’m very glad to organize this dinner with my friend Martin Erdmann and to propose a menu combining French and German cuisine.
For centuries, our two countries were rivals, adversaries, even “hereditary enemies” ! Their relationship went through its most tragic period during the two world wars. We must be aware of this historical dimension, in order to get an idea of the courage and audacity shown by Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle in signing the Elysée treaty on 22 January 1963.
The text of the treaty is short and compact but its content is almost revolutionary : in it, Germany and France commit themselves to nothing more and nothing less than “arriving, insofar as possible, at a similar position” on all the important political, economic and cultural issues. Fifty five years on, the treaty is still just as relevant. This treaty is the basis of our partnership, of our permanent cooperation and has enabled us to create a closeness and friendship that few peoples share in the world.
Our friendship is based on a solid foundation of shared values and common interests. Of course, like in any couple, we don’t always agree. But in a spirit of solidarity and compromise, Germany and France have proven that it’s always possible to find mutually acceptable solutions.
More than ever, Europe is at the heart of our cooperation. The EU’s successes –from the single market and the free movement of people to the single currency- would have been unimaginable without our joint determination and efforts. We want to continue putting Franco-German friendship at the service of this project.
Our relationship can be a driving force for Europe. We all know that if the dialogue between France and Germany is not good, is not functioning, Europe does not move forward. This agreement between Berlin and Paris is not a sufficient condition because the EU is an organization of 28 equal member states, also with the European Commission and the European Parliament. But this agreement is always a necessary condition if Europe wants to go ahead.
Today, in a joint statement, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel are going to confirm the importance of this partnership and announce the elaboration of a new Elysée Treaty, in order to adapt our economies to the challenges of tomorrow, deepen the cooperation in Europe regarding Security and Development and bring closer our societies and citizens. So this 55th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty has a special meaning : it is not only the celebration of a success story but also a new start in the cooperation between our two countries.
Let me conclude by saying that after a difficult year for the relationship between the European Union and Turkey, I hope that 2018 will allow us to move towards a stronger, more pragmatic and serene dialogue. We all know that the European Union and Turkey need each other and I am sure that, in this context, France and Germany together will play a specific role in order to reach this objective with our Turkish friends.
I now give the floor to my dear colleague Martin, whom I thank, with his team, for their involvement in the preparation of this anniversary. I wish you all a very pleasant French-German dinner !
Thank you very much for your attention.