Joint declaration - Franco-German Council of Ministers - 22 January 2023 [fr]

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, while we face Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its consequences on peace and prosperity, France and Germany commit today to act to strengthen the European Union and to intensify efforts, together with our partners, to prepare Europe for tomorrow. In this spirit, we will work together for a European Union that is more resilient, more sustainable and more capable to act independently, in line with the Versailles declaration of March 2022.

To this end, we aim to strengthen our ties in all fields that form the basis for a genuine European sovereignty, starting with: a strong European foreign and security policy, a strengthening of European defence, strong industrial, technological and digital policy, economic strength, energy security, transition to a green economy and consolidation of the European democratic model.

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Participants in the 23rd Franco-German Council of Ministers
© Ghislain Mariette / Présidence de la République

Rising up to the change in our strategic environment and enhancing security and defence

Standing united with our Allies and partners around the world, France and Germany are determined to defend European values and interests as well as to uphold the international order based on the principles of the charter of the United Nations.

We condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest terms possible and we will continue to show unwavering support to Ukraine in all areas possible, particularly the political, military, economic, financial, humanitarian, social, and cultural and humanitarian fields. As agreed with our EU and G7 partners, we will maintain this support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We are firmly committed to fighting impunity for war crimes and the other most serious crimes in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against in Ukraine and supporting efforts to prosecute the perpetrators. We welcome and support President Zelenskyy’s initiative for a just and lasting peace. The meeting of the European Political Community in Prague on 6th October 2022 illustrated the will for peaceful cooperation on the European continent and sent a strong signal against the return of imperialism to Europe; we look forward to the next meeting hosted by Moldova on June 1st.

France and Germany reiterate their determination to provide Ukraine with the humanitarian and civil protection assistance it needs throughout the winter and beyond. We are also determined to support Ukraine’s reconstruction, contributing actively to the EU’s leading role in this regard and acting along with partners, notably through the multi-agency Donor Coordination Platform agreed between Ukraine, the G7, IFIs and other key partners.

We reaffirm our commitment to a strong and balanced transatlantic partnership and to NATO, which remains the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security and defence foundation of our collective defence.

We have strengthened our commitment and engagement on the Eastern Flank of both the European Union and NATO. In order to support our Eastern Allies, militaries will plan joint exercises of the Franco-German Brigade in Lithuania and Romania. In this context, we underline our commitment to increasing the resilience of our Eastern partners, including through the European Peace Facility and in the framework of the Eastern Partnership, and support Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia on their European path. We are also committed to improve the coordination of the protection of critical infrastructure.

In this context, our two countries need to help consolidate Europe’s capacity to defend itself and promote its interests, including by strengthening the European strategic culture. Strengthening European defence capabilities is crucial, also to reinforce the European pillar in NATO and through enhanced EU-NATO cooperation. This is why France and Germany wish to improve the collaboration of armed forces in Europe. We wish to bring our national security and defence strategies closer together. We will continue our cooperation to reinforce the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. We will contribute to strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. We also aim at spearheading the strengthening of the European equipment procurement instruments, in line with the Versailles agenda. Our two countries are fully committed to the trilateral Franco-German-Spanish agreement on arms export controls, which is a key element of our cooperation in the field of armament.

We wish to pursue our partnership for a coordinated strengthening of European defence capabilities. We welcome the recent developments on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and reaffirm our will to move forward on the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) in the same spirit.

In addition to major armament projects, we agree to step up joint work on cyber and space issues. The adoption and implementation of the EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence is a priority. Major evolutions are reshaping the institutional and commercial space sector encompassing both challenges and opportunities for Europe. France and Germany welcome these evolutions and will work together with ESA and all interested ESA-Member States to define and implement a roadmap in order to seize the opportunities of a thriving New Space ecosystem and to tackle the challenges of competition with international partners and rivals. France and Germany welcome their reinforced cooperation to foster Europe’s autonomous, independent and cost-efficient access to space, also with a view of having a dual launch of SYRACUSE and H2SAT military satellites by Ariane 5 in mid-2023, and reaffirm their support to Ariane 6 maiden flight, ramp-up and exploitation following the joint statement by the Space Ministers done in Paris on the 22nd of November 2022. In particular France and Germany will use European launchers, as a priority, and promote the use of micro-mini launchers for institutional missions of European stakeholders, in particular ESA and EU. We also intend to strengthen our exchanges on space-related defence issues, on the use of space for climate protection purposes and on international cooperation for space exploration and human spaceflight.

Regarding operational capabilities, we support the European Union’s efforts to increase its role in the various theatres of common interest and on the multilateral level. We welcome military training activities for Ukrainian soldiers through the EU Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM).

France and Germany reconfirm their full and unequivocal commitment to the European Union membership perspective of the Western Balkans and call for the acceleration of the accession process, based upon credible reforms by Partners. They will continue to support their reform paths and regional cooperation, including through the Berlin Process. It is crucial that long-standing divisions in the region are overcome; we fully support the EU-led dialogue to reach a comprehensive normalisation agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. We are ready to continue our high-level efforts in this regard. We share the strong conviction that political issues regarding the way to full normalisation need to be tackled in a more decisive and speedy way so that there is no room for escalation on the ground.

We are strengthening our partnership with Africa, including through the promotion of EU, G7 and G20 initiatives, such as the EU-Africa Investment Package, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment and the G20 Compact with Africa. On the Sahel, we and our African and European partners will redefine our strategy to continue fighting the continued threat of Islamist terrorism. In addition, we aim for a joint Franco-German exercise in the framework of our Indo-Pacific deployments, to demonstrate both our willingness and ability to support the rule-based international order in this important region.

We will continue our very close cooperation and coordination in all international fora. Together with partners across the globe, we develop initiatives on peace and security, cybersecurity, climate change, health and pandemic. We aim to intensify our cooperation in pandemic prevention and response in European and global level.

For a Europe capable of rising to today’s energy, economic, environmental, climate, biodiversity, industrial and social challenges

We are convinced that responding to the energy, environmental, climate, biodiversity and industrial challenges means strengthening and promoting our political, economic and social model, accelerating the energy transition to become climate neutral and independent from Russian gas as soon as possible, sustainably tackling the climate crisis and establishing the EU as frontrunner for nature-positive acting. The European Green Deal remains of crucial importance to reach our common 1.5-degree goal as agreed in the Paris Climate agreement.

We will continue our international efforts to accelerate the global transition to a climate-neutral industrial sector, inter alia through the open and cooperative international Climate Club established by the G7.

The transformation to a climate-neutral industry will lead to a significant increase in demand for critical raw materials. France and Germany support the EU Commission’s initiative for an EU Critical Raw Materials Act and see the importance of necessary investments in projects for the sustainable production of sustainable critical raw materials within the Union and outside it, in accordance with the highest Environmental Social and Governance standards.

The unprecedented energy crisis we are facing has motivated us to strengthen our energy solidarity, in line with our bilateral solidarity agreement covering gas and electricity. While respecting the principle of technological neutrality with regard to the national choice of energy mix, we commit to stepping up our investments in the technologies of tomorrow, particularly renewable and low carbon energies, energy efficiency - not least with a view to the decarbonization in the building stock -, grids, smart and environmental-friendly technologies and hydrogen, for which we will develop a joint roadmap. We confirm our joint high-level working group on energy between the BMWK and the MTE as well as the installation of the joint working group on hydrogen and look forward to its conclusions and recommendations on our strategic choices regarding hydrogen development aiming at the end of April 2023. Acknowledging the differences of our national energy productions, we will work towards a common understanding and strategy roadmap aiming at the development of a large-scale hydrogen production, and build a resilient European hydrogen market based on a robust local production and necessary sustainable imports. We will also ensure that both renewable and low carbon hydrogen can be be taken into account in European decarbonisation objectives, while acknowledging their differences and safeguarding the overall ambition level of the renewable target. We will also take the necessary steps on a European backbone for hydrogen transport across Europe, including the necessary national and transnational hydrogen infrastructures and, in particular, the extension and connexion of existing and planned infrastructures, including extension of the H2Med pipeline to Germany, and also for extending and reinforcing the electrical grid within the whole European Union. With regard to the development of nuclear fusion energy, as a long term option for a new carbon-free, safe and reliable energy source, we will maintain our scientific, technological and industrial support to the ITER project and work together to explore possible new technological breakthroughs that could accelerate on the way of development of prototype power plants, also taking into account industrial initiatives in this field. We will launch the foundations of a new Franco-German research program on new battery technologies, on which our countries strive to attain a global leadership role.

We will strengthen our joint collaboration in the North Sea Energy Cooperation to make the offshore wind potential of the North Sea one major pillar for competitive electricity prices and hydrogen production.

We both acknowledge that the speed of renewables capacity expansion has to be increased drastically.

We will work on improving the functioning of the electricity market, so that we ensure security of supply, socio-economic welfare, the competitiveness of our economies and a framework that drives the decarbonisation process, and that we strengthen demand and supply flexibility and sector coupling and the price signal by removing obstacles for flexibility, storage, digitalisation and retail markets and reducing electricity and network charges, in order to ensure that electricity prices better reflect their short-term costs, which are lower in times of high shares of renewables and other non-fossil-fuel technologies. In the short term, we are ready to continue providing targeted support to vulnerable households, SMEs and energy-intensive industries. In order to further protect households, we need to strengthen consumer protection and rights in the electricity market.

Together we aim to establish a new Franco-German dialogue platform on Battery charging and Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure. We also strive to establish a regular exchange of information and best practices to promote the sustainability of digital infrastructure.

Building on the strengths of the Single Market, which we will continue to deepen, we will strengthen Europe’s strategic sovereignty and make Europe’s economic, industrial and technological base more resilient, competitive and efficient, in line with the Versailles agenda.

This is necessary for a successful green and digital transition, while leaving no one behind. Following the European Council in December 2022, we look forward to the European Commissions’ proposals for a strategy at EU level to boost competitiveness and productivity. We will advocate for a quick and ambitious European action to ensure the competitiveness and resilience of the European economy and industry, while maintaining a level-playing field amongst EU Member States. We will work to ensure the resilience and competitiveness of the EU’s production by an ambitious European strategy through adequate sectorial legislations and objectives, as well as simplified and streamlined procedures for State aid and sufficient funding, making full use of the available funding and financial instruments, and competitiveness and solidarity measures. In addition, the EIB Group should be fully mobilised and increase higher risk-financing for entrepreneurship and innovation.

We remain advocates of free and fair trade and commit to preserve the global level playing field. We promote an ambitious EU trade policy, based on openness, assertiveness, promoting diversification, resilience, social standards and sustainability. We commit to strengthening the multilateral, rules-based trading system with the WTO at its core, to concluding modern trade agreements with partners around the globe, and to promoting appropriate trade defence instruments.

We call for more ambitious steps towards a Capital Market Union and to continue discussions to complete the Banking Union. As EU businesses are facing the challenges of the green and digital transition, private investments are being required on an almost unprecedented scale. We want to realize the European Capital Markets’ full potential to support the financing of the real economy. Work on the Banking Union should now focus on strengthening the framework for bank crisis management. Subsequently the state of the Banking Union should be reviewed in order to identify possible further measures with regard to the other outstanding elements to strengthen and complete the Banking Union.

Recognising our common challenge to enable and encourage environmentally and economically sustainable innovation, in order to support the green and digital transition and to develop skilled jobs and the competitiveness of the European Union, we commit to support the financing of innovation. Furthermore, we call for a swift implementation of the European Tech Champions Initiative (ETCI), in which both France and Germany invest 1 billion euros each, and – in using the format of collaboration developed for the jointly initiated ETCI - will take further concrete steps to address remaining financing gaps and improve the European Exit Market for Scale-ups. We will work to put in place an ambitious European agenda to attract talents.

A closer exchange and cooperation between the German Digital Hub Initiative and Hub France IA will be established creating a Franco-German network which promotes the exchange of technological and economic expertise and thus enables innovations.

We will continue our joint activities to strengthen European digital sovereignty relating to 5G/6G networks. We recognize the strategic importance of a European data economy and are committed to a common strategy to ensure a free and secure flow, access and use of data as well as trust in cloud services, through the adoption of trusted, comprehensive, robust and transparent cyber security certification schemes, which must be based on objective criteria, in line with European legislation especially with regard to data protection and meet the needs of user companies, including, for clearly defined data, enhanced protection against third countries extraterritorial legislations.

France and Germany undertake to coordinate and adopt fiscal strategies to pursue credible and adequate trajectories for public finances, ensuring debt sustainability and sound public finances, ownership, promoting investment and structural reforms that foster inclusive growth and notably addressing the ecological and digital transitions and the reinforcement of the European economic base. We are determined to promote these same goals and ambition for the reform of the European economic governance. Together with our European partners, we want to jointly discuss and come to an agreement on the further development of the European fiscal rules.

Recognising the crucial role of labour market and social policy, particularly in times of crisis, France and Germany commit to making a joint effort to strengthen the social dimension of the European Union and to promote the implementation of the European pillar of social rights. In this context, we renew our commitment to the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness.

In a context of multiple shocks on the poorest countries, from the Covid19 pandemic to the repercussions of the war in Ukraine as well as to the acceleration of climate change, we reaffirm our willingness to enhance our joint action to reduce inequalities worldwide. We will meet again in Paris next 23rd of June with our key partners for a Summit on a “New Financial Pact” with the Global South and will lead by example by the G20 Summit under Indian presidency next September.

We reaffirm our full support to the transformation of global food systems while addressing current issues regarding global food security and nutrition, especially as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Germany and France support efforts, in particular the ‘EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes’. Both countries support increased transparency on global agricultural markets and are convinced that developing more resilient and sustainable food systems is of utmost importance to achieve the right to adequate food worldwide.

Germany and France are committed to a swift and ambitious implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework in our countries and support its implementation at EU level as well as in partner countries. We will collaborate closely, including on the issues of restoration of ecosystems and nature-based solutions. Based on the “Ocean Deal” endorsed by the G7 under German presidency in 2022, we will increase our ambition to protect the Ocean in the lead up to next UN Ocean Conference in 2025 that will be co-chaired by Costa Rica and France. With our partners, we will also continue to defend a strong position that we should avoid all exploitation of seabed that could deteriorate marine biodiversity.

For a more efficient and agile European Union

To strengthen the EU as a geopolitical actor and in order to prepare the EU for future enlargements, we need to work on the reform of the European institutions. For the functioning of an enlarged European Union we have to ensure efficient decision making, also taking up the expectations of citizens expressed during the Conference on the Future of Europe. We will discuss concrete proposals to strengthen the EU’s capacity to act both in the shorter and the longer term, also with our partners in the European Union to pave the way for discussions about the good functioning of the EU in the coming years. Our countries are open to treaty revision if necessary to achieve the goals we have set ourselves and provided a consensus is found among the 27 Member States of the EU.

For the short term, we need to widen the fields where qualified majority voting applies in the Council to overcome the deadlocks that have been observed, such as on certain areas of Common Foreign and Security Policy and taxation. To this end, we advocate the use of the respective passerelle clauses and constructive abstention as possible ways forward within the framework of the existing treaties. Occasionally, enhanced cooperation might be a useful instrument, while not undermining the European Union’s achievements and being open to all Member States. Moreover, to strengthen public participation and support for the European democratic model, we support the modernization of the EU Electoral Law, including the creation of a union-wide constituency with transnational lists, as well as the development of new ways to involve citizens in discussions on EU policies, building on the experience of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The European Union is a community of law and of shared values which must be protected as the basis of our Union. Therefore, we need to help strengthen the pillars of democracy, rule of law and social equity in Europe through both legislation and robust, tangible action including effective law enforcement.

After three years of a pandemic that has slowed down interpersonal exchanges in Europe, France and Germany are more determined than ever to foster European consensus and integration, to produce tangible results for our citizens. This includes free movement in the entire European Union, including the full application of Schengen to those Member States who want to join.

France and Germany work together on next steps towards finalizing the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) in the current legislative period of the European Parliament, aiming for a balance between responsibility and solidarity.

Moreover, the strengthening of our democracy requires heightened defence of women’s rights and gender equality. France and Germany will undertake work to update the Charter of Fundamental Rights and will continue pledging for the ratification within and by the European Union of the Istanbul Convention against violence against women and domestic violence.

Advancing our bilateral partnership

Building on the success of the Treaty of Aachen, particularly when it comes to cross-border cooperation, we welcome the work of all stakeholders committed to bringing European peoples closer together, including governments, parliaments, local government bodies, political parties, social partners, businesses and civil society.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Franco-German Committee on Cross-Border Cooperation, we commit to supporting cross-border economic activity with the promotion of language learning and exchanges in vocational training, the simplification of cross-border workers’ deployment, the development of cross-border infrastructure and digital networks, better coordination of spatial planning and regional marketing in third countries.

As a tangible initiative illustrating our will to push forward on decarbonizing our economies and our societies, as well as our cross-border links, we support the deployment of the high-speed train route between Paris and Berlin, as well as the night train liaison, both announced for 2024 and confirm our commitment to the realisation of the cross-border rail links agreed upon in the context of the Aachen Treaty. We also support work on a first binational common ticket for young people which should be in place for the summer 2023.

We welcome the work carried out by the members of the Franco-German Council of Economic Experts (FGCEE) since it was established by the Aachen Treaty of 22 January 2019. We have agreed to renew the functioning of the Council and look forward to the new cycle of work under the co-leadership of “Conseil d’Analyse Économique (CAE)” and the “Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (SVR)”.

As ARTE celebrates its 30th anniversary, we welcome its action in favour of the freedom and independence of the media in Europe.

Furthermore, we will step up our cooperation in protecting our democracies and elections from foreign interference and enhance our common capabilities in countering hybrid threats including the manipulation of information by foreign state actors.

Building on France’s experience with the online platform “pass Culture”, Germany is developing the KulturPass platform to promote access to culture for the younger generation.

To heighten awareness of the provenance of cultural objects from sub-Saharan Africa, France and Germany aim to establish a fund that shall enable cross-border collaborative provenance research projects. Both cooperations contribute to the creation of a common cultural space as envisioned by the Treaty of Aachen.

With a view to the European Football Championship 2024 in Germany and the 2024 Olympic Games in France, our two countries will work together closely to promote sustainability, good governance, ecological, social, economic and civic responsibility, inclusion, gender equality and tolerance in these Games.

The implementation of the language strategy is of utmost importance for the reinforcement of the partner language especially in our education systems. Germany and France will continue to expand the Network of integrated German-French Cultural Centers.

We welcome today’s launch of the programme “Génération Europe – Jeunes talents franco-allemands” / “Generation Europa: Deutsch-Französische Nachwuchskräfte”, managed by the German-French Youth Office. Tomorrow’s challenges need young people to be on board. France and Germany are ready.

In light of today’s fruitful consultations in the spirit of our bilateral friendship, we want to coordinate the work of our governments even closer. We therefore agreed today to adapt the format of our consultations. We will hold more frequent consultations in smaller formats with specific and focussed agendas. At the same time, we agreed to come together once per year in a broader cabinet retreat. Germany is ready to host the first such retreat in the autumn of 2023.

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Joint declaration - Franco-German Council of Ministers - 22 January 2023
(PDF - 599.8 kb)

Dernière modification : 30/11/2023

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