50 years of Franco-German friendship

18th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

On the 50th anniversary of the treaty setting Franco-German friendship in stone, below is an account of relations between the two European powerhouses since the end of World War II:

- May 9, 1950: French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposes to the then West Germany a supranational organisation for coal and steel linking the two countries. A year later, the European Coal and Steel Community, a precursor to the European Economic Community and European Union, is born.

- January 22, 1963: French president Charles de Gaulle and West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer sign the Elysee Treaty on Franco-German cooperation in Paris.

- March 13-14, 1969: France and West Germany decide to jointly produce the Airbus aircraft.

- September 6-8, 1978: President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and chancellor Helmut Schmidt lay the foundations for the European Monetary System (EMS).

- January 20, 1983: President Francois Mitterrand backs in the Bonn parliament, the Bundestag, West Germany's decision to deploy American missiles, faced with Soviet SS-20 missiles.

- September 22, 1984: Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl commemorate in Verdun, hand in hand, the death of French and German soldiers during the two world wars.

- October 2, 1989: Creation of a Franco-West German military brigade.

- November 9, 1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall. On December 20-22, Mitterrand, wary about reunification, visits East Germany.

- September 17-18, 1990: Just before reunification on October 3, Mitterrand and Kohl sign an agreement to increase cooperation. Mitterrand announces the withdrawal of French forces stationed in Germany since 1945, the last of which leave in 2008.

- October 2, 1990: Creation of the Franco-German television channel Arte.

- February 7, 1992: Signature of the Maastricht Treaty, the basis of European Economic and Monetary Union, largely powered by Mitterrand and Kohl.

- May 22, 1992: Creation of the Eurocorps, an intergovernmental standing army corps, which integrates the Franco-German brigade. On France's national day, July 14, 1994, 200 German soldiers serving in Eurocorps parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

- June 6, 2004: Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder becomes the first German leader to take part in the commemoration of the Allied landing in Normandy on the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

- 2010-2012: The Franco-German couple, in the form of president Nicolas Sarkozy, then Francois Hollande, along with Chancellor Angela Merkel, join forces to combat the debt crisis which has weighed down the euro single currency 10 years after its foundation.

- January 22, 2013: Hollande and Merkel to mark in Berlin 50 years of Franco-German friendship.

© 2013 AFP

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