The Aachen Treaty: Germany and France become all but a single state

The UK Column publishes what we believe is the only English translation of the full text of the Aachen Treaty which Germany and France will sign this week.

Following David Scott's initial analysis and spoken commentary on the Aachen Treaty, which the German Government has trumpeted includes "the design of the European Defence Union", below is a translation of the full French text of the treaty. Terms in [square brackets] are supplied by UK Column. Terms in (round parentheses) are original to the text of the treaty.

Readers with French (or using a translation machine) may also wish to read this analysis of the full text by an alert Frenchman, with key sentences marked in bold and commented upon.

To the extent that the structures below may appear to duplicate EU structures that have existed since EEC days, one can make sense of that apparent reduplication by viewing the current effort as a constitutionalisation of two major trends of the late twentieth century EU: the corporatisation agenda and the regionalisation agenda.

Readers should bear in mind when considering this treaty that since 2010, France and the United Kingdom have been operating as all but a single state on matters of defence and security, as only the UK Column reported at the time. Britain is expressly included in the EU's multifarious defence acronym schemes (henceforth to be called "Defence Union" by at least the German Government, it seems) as a "third country" in EU defence arrangements. Hence, much or all of the treaty below may be found to apply to Britain, including the reference in Article 4 to "expanding common defence programmes to partners" and the reference in Article 6 to joint military "stabilisation operations in third countries". In signing the Lancaster House Accords with the French Government, Her Majesty's Government may have signed an accord with the structure described below.


Treaty between the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany on Franco-German co-operation and integration



The French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany,

Recognising the historic success of the reconciliation between the French and German peoples to which the Treaty of 22 January 1963 between the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany on Franco-German co-operation made an exceptional contribution, and from which was born an unprecedented network for bilateral relations between their civil societies and their public authorities at all levels;

Convinced that the time has come to elevate their bilateral relations to a higher level and to prepare for the challenges facing the two States and Europe in the 21st century, and to converge their economies and social models, to foster diversity, and to bring their societies and their citizens closer together;

Convinced that the close friendship between France and Germany has been decisive in and remains an indispensable element of a united, effective, sovereign and strong European Union;

Committed to deepening their co-operation on European policy in order to promote Europe’s unity, effectiveness and cohesion, while keeping this co-operation open to all the Member States of the European Union;

Committed to the founding principles, rights, freedoms and values ​​of the European Union, which defend the rule of law throughout the European Union and promote it abroad;

Committed to working for a bottom-up social and economic convergence within the European Union, to strengthen mutual solidarity and to promote the constant improvement of living and working conditions in accordance with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, including paying particular attention to women’s empowerment and gender equality;

Reaffirming the European Union’s commitment to an open, equitable and rules-based global marketplace, with access based on reciprocity and non-discrimination and governed by high environmental and social standards;

Conscious of their rights and obligations under the United Nations Charter;

Firmly committed to a rules-based international order and multilateralism, of which the United Nations is the central element;

Convinced that prosperity and security can only be achieved by acting urgently to protect the climate and preserve biodiversity and ecosystems;

Acting in accordance with their respective national constitutional and legal rules and within the legal framework of the European Union;

Recognising the fundamental role of the devolved co-operation of [French and German] municipalities, [French] départements, [French] Régions, [German] Länder, the [French] Senate and the [German] Bundesrat [Senate], as well as that of co-operation between the Chargé d’Affaires Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany for Cultural Affairs (as laid down in the Treaty on Franco-German Co-operation) and the competent French Ministers;

Recognising the essential role of the co-operation between the Assemblée Nationale and the Deutscher Bundestag, particularly within the scope of their interparliamentary agreement of 22 January 2019, which constitutes an important dimension of the close links between the two countries,

Are agreed as follows:


CHAPTER 1. European affairs

                        Article 1

The two States will deepen their co-operation on European policy. They will promote an effective, strong, common foreign and security policy and will strengthen and deepen Economic and Monetary Union. They will strive to complete the Single Market and strive to build a competitive Union founded upon a strong industrial base, which will serve as a basis for prosperity, promoting economic, taxation and social convergence, as well as sustainability in all its dimensions.

                        Article 2

The two States will consult regularly at all levels before the major European [Union] deadlines, seeking to establish common positions and to agree co-ordinated ministerial speeches. They will co-ordinate on the transposition of European [Union] law into their national law.

CHAPTER 2.  Peace, security and development

                        Article 3

The two States will deepen their co-operation on foreign policy, defence, external and internal security and development, while striving to strengthen Europe’s autonomous [i.e. separate from NATO] capacity for action. They will consult each other in order to define common positions on any major decision affecting their common interests and to act jointly in all cases where such is possible.

                        Article 4

(1) Pursuant to the commitments binding them under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty of 4 April 1949 and Article 42 (7) of the [Maastricht] Treaty on European Union of 7 February 1992 — as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon of 13 December 2007 amending the [Maastricht] Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community — the two States will, convinced of the inseparability of their security interests, increasingly converge their objectives and policies on security and defence, thereby strengthening the collective security systems of which they form part. They will afford each other aid and assistance by every means at their disposal, including armed force, in case of armed aggression against their territories. The territorial scope of the second sentence of this paragraph shall correspond to that of Article 42 (7) of the [Maastricht] Treaty on European Union.

(2) The two States shall act jointly in all cases where possible, in accordance with their respective national rules, with a view to maintaining peace and security. They will continue to develop Europe’s efficiency, coherence and credibility in the military field. In doing so, they commit themselves to strengthening Europe’s capacity for action and to invest jointly to make good its capacity shortcomings, thus strengthening the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance.

(3) The two States undertake to strengthen further the co-operation between their armed forces with a view to establishing a common culture and joint deployments. They will intensify the development of common defence programmes and will expand them to partners. In doing so, they intend to promote the competitiveness and consolidation of the European defence industrial and technological base. They support the closest possible co-operation between their defence industries, on the basis of mutual trust. The two States will develop a common approach to arms exports as regards joint projects.

(4) The two States will establish the Franco-German Defence and Security Council as the political body to manage these reciprocal commitments. This Council will meet at regular intervals at the highest level.

                        Article 5

The two States will extend the co-operation between their ministries of foreign affairs, including their diplomatic and consular missions. They will exchange senior staff. They will establish exchanges within their Permanent Representations to the United Nations at New York, particularly between their Security Council teams; their Permanent Representations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and their Permanent Representations to the European Union, as well as between the bodies of the two States that are responsible for co-ordinating European [Union] action.

                        Article 6

In the area of ​​internal security, the governments of the two States will further reinforce their bilateral co-operation in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, as well as their judicial co-operation and co-operation in intelligence and police matters. They will implement common training and deployment measures and will create a common unit for stabilisation operations in third countries.

                        Article 7

The two States commit themselves to establishing an ever closer partnership between Europe and Africa by strengthening their co-operation on private sector development, regional integration, education and vocational training, gender equality and women’s empowerment, with the aim of improving socio-economic prospects, sustainability, good governance and conflict prevention, crisis resolution — including peacekeeping — and the management of post-conflict situations. The two States will establish an annual policy dialogue on international development policy to intensify the co-ordination of policy planning and implementation.

                        Article 8

(1) Within the framework of the United Nations Charter, the two States will co-operate closely in all bodies of the United Nations. They will closely co-ordinate their positions, as part of a wider effort of consultation among EU Member States having a seat on the UN Security Council and in accordance with the positions and interests of the European Union. They will act in concert to promote to the United Nations the EU’s positions and commitments to global challenges and threats. They will do their utmost to achieve a unified European Union position in the appropriate bodies of the United Nations.

(2) The two States undertake to continue their efforts to conclude intergovernmental negotiations on the reform of the United Nations Security Council. The admission of the Federal Republic of Germany as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is a priority of Franco-German diplomacy.

 CHAPTER 3. Culture, teaching, research and mobility

                        Article 9

The two States recognise the decisive role played by culture and the media in strengthening Franco-German amity. Accordingly, they are determined to create for their peoples a shared space of freedom and opportunity, as well as a common cultural and media space. They will develop mobility and exchange programmes between their countries, in particular for young people within the scope of the Franco-German Youth Office, and will define quantified objectives in these areas. In order to foster ever closer links in all areas of cultural expression, including through integrated cultural institutes, they will put in place specific programmes and a digital platform especially for young people.

                        Article 10

The two States will bring their education systems closer together by developing the mutual learning of each other’s languages; adopting, in accordance with their [respective] constitutional structure, strategies to increase the number of students studying the partner’s language, acting to achieve the mutual recognition of diplomas, and to establish Franco-German excellence tools for research, vocational education and training, as well as integrated dual Franco-German programmes under the auspices of higher education.

                        Article 11

The two States will promote the networking of their education and research systems as well as their funding structures. They will continue the development of the Franco-German University and will encourage French and German universities to participate in networks of European universities.

                        Article 12

The two States will establish a Common Citizenship Fund to encourage and support citizens’ initiatives and twinning between cities, with the aim of bringing their two peoples closer together.

CHAPTER 4. Regional and cross-border co-operation

                        Article 13

(1) The two States recognise the importance of cross-border co-operation between the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany in order to strengthen the links between citizens and businesses on both sides of the border, including the essential role played by local authorities and other local actors in this respect. They intend to facilitate the removal of obstacles in border areas in order to implement cross-border projects and to facilitate the daily life of the inhabitants of these areas.

(2) To that end, in accordance with the respective constitutional rules of the two States and within the limits of European Union law, the two States will endow local and regional authorities with border-area and cross-border entities such as Eurodistricts, having appropriate powers, dedicated resources and accelerated procedures to overcome obstacles to the implementation of cross-border projects, particularly in the economic, social, environmental, health, energy and transport fields. If no other means allows them to overcome these obstacles, then appropriate legal and administrative provisions, including derogations [from the otherwise applicable stipulations of EU or national law], may also be granted. In such a case, it will be up to the two States to adopt the appropriate legislation.

(3) The two States remain committed to preserving high standards in the areas of employment law, social protection, health and safety, and environmental protection.

                        Article 14

The two States will set up a Cross-Border Co-operation Committee, comprising stakeholders such as the [national] State and local authorities, parliaments and cross-border entities such as Eurodistricts and, where necessary, interested Euroregions. This Committee shall be responsible for co-ordinating all aspects of cross-border area oversight between the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany; for defining a common strategy for the selection of priority projects; and for monitoring the difficulties encountered in border areas; for making proposals for remedying them, as well as for analysing the impact of new legislation on border areas.

                        Article 15

The two States are committed to the goal of bilingualism in border areas and will support border communities in developing and implementing appropriate strategies.

                        Article 16

The two States will facilitate cross-border mobility by improving the interconnectedness of digital and physical networks between themselves, including rail and road links. They will work closely in the field of innovative, sustainable and universally accessible transport, in order to develop common approaches or standards for the two States.

 CHAPTER 5. Sustainable development, climate, environment and economic affairs

                        Article 17

The two States will encourage devolved co-operation between local authorities in non-border areas. They pledge to support the initiatives launched by such local authorities that are implemented in those territories.

                        Article 18

The two States will work to strengthen the implementation process of multilateral instruments relating to sustainable development, global health, and the protection of the environment and climate, particularly the Paris Agreement of 12 December 2015 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, they will act in close partnership to formulate common approaches and policies, particularly by putting in place mechanisms for the transformation of their economies and by promoting ambitious actions to combat climate change. They will ensure the mainstreaming of climate protection into all policies, including regular cross-cutting exchanges between the governments in key sectors.

                        Article 19

The two States will advance the energy transition in all relevant sectors and will, to this end, develop their co-operation and strengthen the institutional framework for funding, developing and implementing joint projects, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

                        Article 20

(1) The two States will deepen the integration of their economies in order to establish a Franco-German economic zone with common rules. The Franco-German Economic and Financial Council will promote the bilateral harmonisation of their legislation, particularly in the field of business law, and will regularly co-ordinate economic policies between the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany in order to promote convergence between the two States and improve the competitiveness of their economies.

(2) The two States will set up a Franco-German Economic Expert Council, composed of ten independent experts, to make recommendations to the two governments on their economic activities.

                        Article 21

The two States will intensify their co-operation in the field of research and digital transformation, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence and breakthrough innovations. They will promote international guidelines on the ethics of new technologies. In order to promote innovation, they will set up Franco-German initiatives open to co-operation at European level. The two States will put in place a co-ordination process and joint funding to support joint research and innovation programmes.

                        Article 22

Stakeholders and interested parties from the two States will come together in a Forum for the Franco-German Future to work on the processes of transformation of their societies.

   CHAPTER 6. Organisation

                        Article 23

Meetings between the governments of the two States will take place at least once a year, alternately in the French Republic and in the Federal Republic of Germany. After the entry into force of this Treaty, the Franco-German Council of Ministers shall adopt a multiannual programme of Franco-German co-operation projects. The [two respective civil service] Secretaries-General for Franco-German co-operation responsible for preparing these meetings shall monitor the implementation of this programme and shall report to the [Franco-German] Council of Ministers.

                        Article 24

A member of the Government of one of the two States alternately shall attend, at least once a quarter, the Cabinet of Ministers of the other State.

                        Article 25

The councils, structures and instruments of Franco-German co-operation shall be subject to periodic review and shall, if necessary, be adapted without delay to the objectives agreed upon. The first of these reviews should take place within six months of the entry into force of this Treaty and should propose the necessary adjustments. The [respective] Secretaries-General for Franco-German co-operation will regularly assess progress. They will inform the parliaments and the Franco-German Council of Ministers of the general state of progress of Franco-German co-operation.

                       Article 26

Representatives of the [French] Régions and the [German] Länder, as well as the cross-border co-operation committee, may be invited to participate in the Franco-German Council of Ministers.

  CHAPTER 7. Final provisions

                        Article 27

This Treaty supplements the Treaty of 22 January 1963 between the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany on Franco-German co-operation within the meaning of Paragraph 4 of the Final Provisions of this Treaty.

                        Article 28

The two States shall inform one another, through diplomatic channels, of the completion of the national procedures required for the entry into force of this Treaty. This Treaty shall enter into force on the date of receipt of the last notification.