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What the Treaty of Elysées teaches us today – A leading political act

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What the Treaty of Elysées teaches us today - A leading political act

It went down in history as the Treaty of the Elysium. Yesterday, January 22, marked the 59th anniversary of its signing. It was a major political act through which France and Germany sealed the end of their long and bloody confrontation and paved the way, at least politically, for the promotion of European integration, an idea which could not even move forward. hypothetical level, if the hostility between the two big countries did not turn into a cooperation and even close and strategic. “Politically at least” refers to then as well as today. Because in fact it took a lot of work until the shadows cleared up and the cooperation of these two driving forces of Europe bore fruit.

The first clouds

Looking back to 1963 and the conclusion of the treaty, which at that time certainly had not aroused much enthusiasm or even understanding of what exactly it would consolidate later, it is important to look at the first problems the treaty faced as proof of the need for political stature. leadership. This is because, in the fragile climate of the Cold War, the short distance from the end of World War II but also the not so long distance from World War I, then West Germany did not share France's attempt to build new roads. in its role in the West, finding a new identity and leaving behind the Algerian War and the loss of its colonies. Many in Berlin feared that France was using this approach to divert it from US sphere of influence, which Bonn considered out of the ordinary for its own security. Thus, the German Parliament included in the preamble to the treaty a statement clarifying that West Germany remained fully committed to its friendship with both the United States and Britain. The summary of the report had provoked outrage in Paris as it alone left room for speculation about the role that France wanted to play in relation to West Germany. But then-French President Charles de Gaulle chose to lift the political weight and not sacrifice the forest for the tree, facilitating German Chancellor Conrad Adenauer. The continuation would justify it as each country was able to find its own role in the European area without affecting the other, at a time when the cooperation between them deepened year by year.

Forgotten words

In just six decades the two peoples have left the past behind to such an extent that, today, phenomena such as, for example, polls in France hold Germany firmly in the first place when it comes to the question of which country is the most powerful. ally of France and similar indications to be recorded on German territory. The derogatory descriptions of one nation for another have gone down in history and many are now unaware of these words which haunted every sentence uttered by the two peoples, for each other for centuries. This was accomplished by the methodical work of all the governments that followed those that signed the treaty and which did not let its provisions remain mere declarations.

Historical truth

Emphasis was placed on education through the creation of Franco-German schools, the promotion of the learning of one language in schools of another, the exchange of pupils and students on a permanent basis, something that continues to this day, as well as the joint imprinting of history in schools and not only, with the emphasis on rendering historical events accurately, especially those that are “difficult” for each side. Joint committees of historians worked for years in order for each side to come to terms with its own “uncomfortable” realities and in the end to have a complete and documented historical view which both peoples have learned to accept. The Franco-German University, an organization widely represented in both countries, facilitates all kinds of academic exchanges and deepens the cooperation of the two countries at the academic level, in every possible field. In addition to training, however, the two countries have forged allied ties, both politically and militarily. The Franco-German Council of Ministers has met twice a year since then, and the Franco-German Brigade is a joint military corps created in 1987 after a historic meeting between President Mitterrand and Chancellor Kohl and also survives to this day.

In 2018 the leaders of the two countries Emanuel Macron and Angela Merkel decided that there was a need, 55 years later, for a new Treaty of the Elysium and a year later the Treaty of Aachen was signed which adapted the first treaty to today's reality. Throughout history the Treaty of the Elysées, its implementation and outcome are considered one of the most important achievements in the chapter of reconciling eternal enemies and turning this enmity into a strong allied relationship. And a similar example for other peoples who could learn from this and the Franco-German experience.

Source: politis.com.cy

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