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Olaf Scholz shakes hands with Emmanuel Macron
Olaf Scholz met Emmanuel Macron in ParisImage: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance
PoliticsFrance

Scholz and Macron celebrate 60 years of Elysee Treaty

January 22, 2023

Top government officials from Germany and France met in Paris to pay tribute to the historic treaty that has underpinned six decades of cooperation between their two countries.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris on Sunday to mark 60 years since the signing of the Elysee Treaty.

Speaking at the Sorbonne University, Germany's Scholz said the future of Europe rested on the "driving force" of Paris and Berlin.

"The German-French engine is a machine for compromise — well oiled, but from time to time also loud and marked by hard work," the German chancellor said.

Addressing the war in Ukraine, Scholz said France and Germany would back Ukraine "as long as necessary."

The Elysee Treaty between France and Germany, sealed in 1963, laid the foundation for close bilateral collaboration between the two former enemies.

Scholz, Macron, and around 300 lawmakers from both countries gathered at the Sorbonne for a ceremony to celebrate the occasion.

Macron told the audience that Germany and France had "cleared the path to reconciliation," and must therefore "become pioneers to relaunch Europe." 

He stressed there was a need to "build a new energy model," encourage "innovation and the technologies of tomorrow," and ensure the European Union is "a geopolitical power in its own right, in defense, space and diplomacy."

Macron, Scholz discuss tanks for Ukraine

Later in the day, the French and German Cabinets took part in a joint Council of Ministers at the Elysee Palace. The talks focused on energy and economic policy, as well as security and defense policies. Military aid for Ukraine was also on the agenda.

Macron said his country was still deciding to deliver French-made Leclerc heavy tanks to Ukraine, but he added that "nothing is excluded."

However, the French president stressed that dispatching any hardware to Ukraine to push Russian forces away should be "collectively" decided and coordinated with allies, Germany included.

Scholz has been under immense pressure to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine. Berlin has been hesitant to send the highly advanced, German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or allow other nations to transfer them. 

On Sunday, Scholz reiterated Berlin's stance on the matter, stressing that his country had always acted in close coordination with its allies. 

Separately, the French president announced that Germany will be joining a new hydrogen pipeline project which connects Spain and France.

The gathering was the first in-person meeting of its kind between the two governments since 2019. The joint discussions had initially been planned for October but were canceled at short notice, sparking concerns about strained Franco-German relations. Both sides have since reaffirmed their close cooperation.

Scholz and Macron were expected to hold a joint press conference in the late afternoon, followed by dinner at a Paris restaurant.

The Elysee Treaty was signed by then-French President Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on January 22, 1963.

rmt, m/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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