Based on the Elysée Treaty of 1963, regular working relations have developed between the German and French ministries that are going beyond the biannual summits of both governments. With the 40th anniversary of the Treaty, the Franco-German cooperation gained new momentum. Since January 2003, the intergovernmental consultations have taken place in the form of joint cabinet councils. This means that usually all members of both cabinets come together and discuss the latest and most important issues. Furthermore, the German and the French ministers deal with topical political issues in bilateral talks.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Elysée Treaty, the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic agreed political guidelines for taking their cooperation forward. The joint initiatives are to be opened to the other EU states and incorporated into the process of European integration.
In the guidelines, Germany and France once again underline the importance of improving the cooperation in terms of transport policy between the two countries as well as in Europe to ensure that our transport systems will be able to cope with the major challenges of the future (Art. 32 and 33).
The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development and the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy have been engaged in an intense cooperation for a long time. As Germany is the most important trade partner for France (and vice versa), an efficient, sustainable and environmentally sound transport system is of vital interest to both countries. Well-functioning transport links are also useful for the individual citizen and make it possible to experience tangible results of the cooperation. This also applies to the urban planning and housing policies where creative cooperation can improve the quality of life of every citizen. The Federal Minister and his French partners are highly committed to projects of bilateral cooperation which make a contribution to sustainable development and economic growth.
Examples of key areas:
- Intensified cooperation in rail transport; establishment of a Franco-German high-level rail group (2010)
- Finalization of the high-speed rail link Paris-Eastern France-Southwestern Germany (POS)
- Alternative fuels and innovative drivetrain technologies
- Energy efficiency in the buildings sector
- Cooperation in the roads sector and in the field of road haulage
- Exchange of experience in the fields of housing policy and energy efficiency in the buildings sector
Moreover, there is a close cooperation in terms of European issues, in particular prior to Councils of the Transport Ministers.
Due to the importance of the Franco-German cooperation, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development appointed a Commissioner for Franco-German relations back in 2000. Since 2003, the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy has been sending an expert to the French embassy in Berlin.
And since 2004, there have been regular exchanges of personnel between the two Ministries.