We must take charge of Europe's destiny: Chancellor Merkel at Franco-German Council of Minister
Franco-German cooperation is to be stepped up with new élan, declared Chancellor Angela Merkel following the Franco-German Council of Ministers. Many beacon projects already exist. In Paris, agreement was reached on other projects in the fields of education and culture, defence and security, and economic and social affairs.
Germany and France intend to strengthen the European Union with their common efforts, underlined Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. They are aware, she continued, that they must take more charge of Europe’s destiny "and ensure our people of protection and security, as well as progress and development".
Innovative force of Franco-German cooperation
At the 19th meeting of the Franco-German Council of Minister, agreement was reached on projects in the fields of education and culture, defence and security, and economic and social affairs. In the education and culture sector, young people are to be made more mobile and enabled to acquire the necessary language skills. That is why it was agreed that more efforts are to be made to encourage people to learn the language of the partner country, as well as revitalising school twinning arrangements, and strengthening the Erasmus programmes, declared President Emmanuel Macron.
Germany and France are also to step up their cooperation on integrating migrants and refugees, the French President continued. He pointed to the Franco-German Integration Council and the plan to hold a European Integration Summit.
Engagement for Sahel Zone Initiative
In the field of defence and security, Angela Merkel underlined the importance of the holistic approach to security, as reflected for example in the G5 Sahel Zone Initiative. For Germany the engagement in Africa is something new, but, said the Chancellor, "If Africa does not experience positive economic growth, Europe too will face many problems." The "Alliance for the Sahel" will foster stability and help encourage development in the region through closer coordination and funding.
Making the European Defence Fund a success
Angela Merkel continued that Germany and France have "done much over the last few months to push ahead with common European defence policy". France and Germany have laid out the preconditions that must be met if the European Defence Fund is to be successful.
They will be identifying projects in this context, in research or in terms of capacities to be deployed. These are steps to ensure enhanced security. A register of European entry and exit data is also needed to protect internal European security, said the Chancellor.
Pushing ahead with digital cooperation
The Chancellor pointed to the importance of Franco-German cooperation throughout the digital sector, including administration, start-ups and modifications to labour law. Angela Merkel stressed, "The question is whether we will have the jobs of the future or not."
Implementing climate agreement
France and Germany intend to continue to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Chancellor pointed to the Agreement and to the affirmation of 19 of the G20 states that it is irreversible. The COP meeting in Bonn will focus on the continued implementation of the Agreement, said the Chancellor.
Close cooperation for good results
During President Emmanuel Macron’s inaugural visit to Berlin, he and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to stage a meeting of the Franco-German Council of Ministers in July. At that time the Chancellor stressed the importance of the cordial Franco-German relations, which have grown over a long period of time. "We have a lot that we can build on, but we can also lend a new impetus to our relations and that is what we want to do. That is why we will be holding a Franco-German Council of Ministers with key line ministers in order to present bilateral projects in the pertinent fields that will lend our cooperation new wings," said the Chancellor.