Based on the Elysée Treaty of 1963, regular working relations have developed between the German and French ministries that are going beyond the usually biannual summits of both governments. With the 40th anniversary of the Treaty, the Franco-German cooperation received a new dynamism. 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 55th anniversary date of the Elysée Treaty on 22 January 2018, the Assemblée Nationale and the German Bundestag adopted a joint resolution on the renewal of the Elysée Treaty.
The Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and of the French Republic have subsequently agreed on a new treaty under international law concerning the Franco-German cooperation and integration. This treaty was solemnly signed by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and State President Emmanuel Macron in Aachen on 22 January 2019, hence its name “Treaty of Aachen”. The Treaty of Aachen does not replace but renews the Elysée Treaty from 1963, allowing for both Treaties to apply equally. In the Treaty, France and Germany underline their joint endeavour to facilitate cross-border mobility in the regions by, among other things, better interlinking rail and road transport (Art. 16), ensuring climate change mitigation in all policy areas (Art. 18) as well as cooperating closer with regard to digital change (Art. 21).
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the French Ministry for the Ecological Transition have been intensively cooperating for a long time. As Germany is a very important trading 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 as well as affordable and sustainable mobility are prerequisites for the well-being of citizens and businesses. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and its French partner ministry both strongly advocate projects of bilateral cooperation that contribute to sustainable development, economic growth as well as environmentally and climate-friendly mobility.
Examples of key areas:
- Intensified cooperation in rail transport; establishment of a Franco-German high-level rail group in 2010; implementation of the projects of the Treaty of Aachen
- Talks on actual projects for improving cross-border transport links initiated among the affected federal states and the DB AG in a corresponding working group in spring 2019
In 2016, launch of a new initiative concerning electric and digital mobility:
- cooperation in the field of transport and climate (on alternative fuels and innovative drivetrain technologies, among other things)
- digital test bed between France and Germany established (later joined by Luxembourg)
- Intensified cooperation in the field of hydrogen
- Cooperation in the roads sector and in the field of road haulage
Moreover, there is a close cooperation in terms of European issues, in particular prior to Councils of the EU Transport Ministers.
Due to the importance of the Franco-German cooperation, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure appointed a Commissioner for Franco-German relations back in 2000. And since 2004, there have been regular exchanges of personnel between the two Ministries.