Franco-German Council of Ministers meeting (16 October 2019)

Stocktake of commitments made during previous French-German meetings

France and Germany are committed to further deepening their close partnership in shaping foreign policy. On 22 January 2019, marking the 56th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, the Treaty of Aachen was signed to strengthen Franco-German cooperation and facilitate convergence between our two countries. At our meeting in Meseberg on 18 June 2018, we had already decided to further deepen our coordination and cooperation on EU matters.

Cooperation on foreign policy at multilateral level

We share a firm commitment to a rules-based international order. The United Nations, its bodies and its procedures are at the heart of this international order, which we stand ready to defend. We remain focused on strengthening the United Nations through our close cooperation and on jointly promoting the positions and interests of the European Union.

To this end, we have launched and promoted an “Alliance for Multilateralism” as an informal network of countries united in their conviction that a rules-based multilateral order is the only reliable guarantee of international stability and peace, and that our common challenges can only be solved through cooperation.
Furthermore, we closely coordinated our UNSC Presidencies in 2019 and strengthened EU cooperation at the United Nations.

On Iran, we reaffirm our full commitment to the preservation and full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), a key contribution to the global non-proliferation regime that was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council. Both countries urge Iran to reverse its decision to reduce compliance with the JCPoA, and to return to full implementation of its commitments. We are committed to continuing diplomatic efforts with all relevant partners in the interest of easing tensions and preserving international peace and security.

In light of the challenges created by the US withdrawal from the JCPoA, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have made great efforts to facilitate legitimate trade with Iran by setting up a special purpose vehicle (INSTEX).

Cooperation on foreign policy at European level / CFSP

A strong and sovereign European Union based on solidarity is our vision. Together with our European partners, we want to encourage a debate on the future development of the European Union, to increase its capacity for rapid and effective action under its Common Foreign and Security Policy and give it greater clout. We want to achieve closer coordination and enhanced effectiveness in the face of international challenges.

We will continue joint work on solutions to strengthen the unity of the European Union and the balance between the positions defended by our two countries nationally in multilateral forums, particularly the various United Nations bodies, and those set by the EU.

Cooperation on foreign policy and bilateral initiatives

The following matters have been the subject of significant French-German cooperation:

Eastern Partnership: adoption of a “new deal” for young people in the Chair’s Conclusions of the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting of 13 May 2019.
Central Asia: two French-German non-papers on “young people and education” and “security and stability” were published in January 2019 to contribute to the new EU strategy.

To counter the scourge of antisemitism, we have held several rounds of bilateral consultations on combating it and have exchanged situation reports and best practices. We have furthermore agreed to join forces and promote action against antisemitism in the EU.

We are establishing joint cultural institutes and creating platforms for European cultural cooperation throughout the world. In Baghdad, the Goethe-Institut will start operation under the roof of the Institut Français. In 2020, joint Franco-German cultural institutes will open in Rio de Janeiro and in Palermo.

The Cross-Border Cooperation Committee has been established today to begin seeking solutions to everyday cross-border challenges. In the Committee, regional and local authorities as well as parliaments and Eurodistricts, are represented. The Committee will soon meet in the border region for the inauguration meeting.
The Franco-German Integration Council, jointly chaired by the Ministers of the Interior and the Ministers for Europe, has met on the topics “language training and promoting values” and “labour market integration”. The next plenary session will take place in Berlin on 22 November 2019.

We have adopted a detailed concept for the Franco-German Future Forum. First projects will commence in 2020, with the Forum serving as a platform for dialogue between citizens, experts and stakeholders on major social, economic, ecological, security and technological transformation processes and the related challenges.

Planned measures

Measure 1: Alliance for Multilateralism: Given the success of the event in New York (26 September), we plan the launch of a website containing, for example, the contributions of the participants and the six initiatives presented, as well as an Alliance session during the Paris Peace Forum and the Munich Security Conference. We will continue to nurture the growing network that is producing concrete results in an array of fields, and with partners from around the globe.

Measure 2: We will again closely coordinate our consecutive UNSC Presidencies in June and July 2020 and contribute to the visibility of EU positions at the United Nations.

Measure 3: We will work together to strengthen a common EU and NATO policy with regard to Russia on the basis of existing principles.

Measure 4: We will continue to work closely together within the Normandy Format with Ukraine and Russia to facilitate the peace progress in Eastern Ukraine.

Measure 5: We will work together closely to foster and implement an ambitious transatlantic agenda with the United States and promote European interests on a broad range of foreign, security and economic policy topics, including at the EU and NATO levels. All sides are expected to continue to contribute to this crucial strategic partnership.

Measure 6: France and Germany undertake to work together to enrich the European “Connecting Europe & Asia” strategy, including with the aim of developing a European strategy for the Indo-Pacific. They commit to fostering European Union unity on matters of European policy for Asia.

Measure 7: The Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel (P3S) ia a Franco-German initiative, announced by the President of the Republic and the Federal Chancellor at the Biarritz G7 Summit. This partnership should be launched officially at an international conference at the end of the year. New French-German proposals should be promoted to the new Commission (development policy for Africa).

Measure 8: We will work together on a common position on the creation of an EU Security Council.

Measure 9: In view of the multiple challenges facing the Arctic, we are determined to work together closely to strengthen EU diplomacy in the region.

Measure 10: We will take advantage of our respective EU Council presidencies in 2020 and 2022 to advance the European cause and protect and promote European sovereignty.

Measure 11: Under the ongoing structured reflection process on the future of the Eastern Partnership, and with an eye on the next summit scheduled for May 2020, we intend to insist that young people, combating climate change and the environment should be priorities of the next proposals drawn up by the Commission.

Measure 12: We will continue the work on establishing a Periodic Peer Review on the Rule of Law in the EU, in the context of the Council’s efforts to strengthen the EU Rule of Law toolbox and taking into account the recent proposals of the Commission. New mechanisms should be set up as part of a positive and inclusive contribution to respect for the rule of law in the EU, aimed at fostering better understanding, unity and cohesion amongst Member States.

Measure 13: Enhance resilience to foreign actors’ attempts to influence democratic processes in Europe and strengthen European action regarding hate crimes on the Internet.
Further actions in the field of European security and defence have been agreed today according to the Conclusions of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council.