French-German Declaration of Toulouse (16 October 2019)


France and Germany, following their commitments made at the French-German Council of Ministers in July 2017, in Meseberg in June 2018 and in the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration, signed on 22 January 2019 in Aachen, recall their joint determination to promote a more sovereign and effective European Union, at this time of increasing geopolitical challenges. In this context, France and Germany fully support the Strategic Agenda adopted by the European Council in June 2019 and the priorities of the Political Guidelines for the next European Commission presented by Ursula von der Leyen.

France and Germany advocate a rapid adoption of the “European Green Deal” to be proposed by President-Elect Ursula Von Der Leyen.

Both countries want the European Union to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. France and Germany will examine means of implementing a carbon border tax compatible with WTO rules. France and Germany support the introduction of minimum carbon pricing starting at a moderate level in the EU Emissions trading system (ETS). In close cooperation with the European Commission, we want to work towards the prospective introduction of a cross-sectoral European ETS. To facilitate the transition, it is also crucial to redirect financial flows: France and Germany support the idea of strengthening the role of the European Investment Bank in climate financing to increase public and private investment in green projects and make it the EU “climate bank”.

Regarding biodiversity, France and Germany will work closely ahead of COP15, towards consequent mainstreaming of biodiversity into all relevant policy areas and will lead joint action in favour of the conclusion by 2020 of a UN treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of ocean biodiversity.

Both countries will request the Commission to propose WTO-compatible EU legislative and non-legislative initiatives to avoid imports from producers involved in deforestation.

France and Germany share the objective of a strong European economy able to face the current global challenges.

Trade tensions should be addressed and both countries reaffirm their commitment to work within the EU to safeguard and strengthen the multilateral trading system with a reformed WTO at its core, working on:

• improving rules (technology transfers, intellectual property, overcapacities etc.);
• reinforcing monitoring and implementation mechanisms;
• securing a strong and efficient two-tiered dispute settlement system.

In particular, the EU should remain fully committed to engaging with the United States and other partners on this agenda, but stand ready to defend its legitimate interests. The EU should complement its support of the multilateral trading system by maintaining an ambitious trade agenda. France and Germany support the next Commission’s work to set up an updated trade agenda, in favour of a level playing field in global competition, better monitoring of trade rules and agreements. Furthermore, both countries support compatibility of our trade policy with EU climate policies and their social and environmental dimensions.

The economic outlook also relies on structural evolutions, especially the digital transformation, energy the transition, and global and European competitiveness. France and Germany underline the importance of a strong and sustainable economic, technological and industrial base in Europe requiring a better functioning Single Market, especially in the digital dimension, updated regulation that avoids unnecessary burdens and takes into account the new global competition framework and market power of digital platforms, an EU budget increasing support for innovation and investment, the rapid implementation of the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness in the Eurozone, and improved bilateral economic policy coordination.

France and Germany promote a higher ambition for innovation in disruptive technologies, and in the area of artificial intelligence (AI), taking into account ethical guidelines for new technologies.

At the bilateral level, France and Germany encourage the “Conseil pour l’Innovation” (“Grands Défis”) and the “Agentur für Sprunginnovationen” to develop and support common projects in 2020. To this end, both governments have signed a roadmap for a Franco-German Research and Innovation Network on artificial intelligence.

At the EU level, both countries will advocate an ambitious agenda for research and innovation within the next multiannual financial framework, including the European Researcj Council and the newly-created European Innovation Council.

Both countries will work together to strengthen Europe in the development and application of leading-edge technologies, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. To this end, opportunities for additional bilateral and European initiatives will be explored by 2020.

France and Germany support a stronger European space policy.

Both countries underline the strategic dimension of independent European access to space. In this respect, they support the European preference principle regarding launchers (Ariane 6) and recognize the use of Ariane 6 services by institutional users as one of the key contributions to consolidating their exploitation. Joint work is also needed on the future of this programme. The French and German governments call on industrial stakeholders to develop consolidation measures in order to improve cost-efficiency and international competitiveness and to strengthen the European launcher sector, in close cooperation with their European partners, especially Italy.

France and Germany support the creation of the new European Commission Directorate-General devoted, inter alia, to space, taking into account the civilian character of the EU space programmes.

France and Germany are stepping up their cooperation for European security and defence.

In the French-German Council of Defence and Security which met today in Toulouse, both governments reaffirmed their full commitment to progressively build an effective, coherent and credible European security and defence, to reinforce the European pillar in NATO, and to make full use of the European Intervention Initiative aiming at fostering a common strategic culture. In this regard, they reaffirmed their support to enhancing European military capabilities through PESCO projects and other EU defence initiatives, as well as their industrial cooperation, in particular the NGWS/FCAS (Next Generation Weapons System/Future Combat Air System) and MGCS (Main Ground Combat System) programmes.

Such cooperation requires mutual trust and common rules: the French Government and the German Government agreed in the Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration to develop a joint approach to arms export control. Today, both sides have concluded their negotiations on a legally binding agreement for which the final steps will be implemented as soon as possible.

France and Germany will relaunch EU reforms on migration and asylum.

An agreement was reached in Malta regarding disembarkations in the Meditarrenean Sea, and the President-Elect of the Commission has promised a fresh start on this overall issue. France and Germany jointly support the swift presentation and adoption of a new legislative package reforming the Common European Asylum System (including the Dublin and Schengen rules), on the basis of fair responsibility and pragmatic solidarity.

Both countries also encourage the Commission to propose a fully-fledged European Asylum Office harmonizing asylum rules and practices across the EU, as well as a European Asylum Database providing a comprehensive picture of all asylum cases and the way they affect Member States.

France and Germany defend European culture and creation.

France and Germany reaffirm their determination to implement the new EU directive on copyright and to ensure full respect of these rules.

France and Germany want to make a new push for European democracy.

France and Germany support the Conference on the Future of Europe, to start in 2020. They will make joint proposals to ensure this initiative reaches out to EU citizens and allows for their active participation while also reflecting the key role of EU Member States.

France and Germany are shaping a common future by strengthening their cooperation and integration (treaty of Aachen).

France and Germany have already taken concrete steps to fulfil the vision of the Treaty of Aachen with a special attention to promoting stronger links between our citizens. The Joint Citizens’ Fund will promote Franco-German citizens’ projects from early 2020. It will support initiatives by citizens and associations in order to facilitate encounters, exchange programmes and common projects. Mobility programmes for young people will be expanded in 2020. The Franco-German Youth Office has the goal of reaching 20% of young people with special needs in its programmes in 2020. Moreover, France and Germany will promote mutual recognition of diplomas and educational pathways as well as new integrated Franco-German “careers campus” initiatives and dual degree programmes, and develop strategies for bilingualism in border regions and foster language learning in general. The Cross-Border Cooperation Committee has been established and will embark on its mission of finding solutions for everyday cross-border challenges.

We have adopted a concept for the Franco-German Future Forum to tackle transformational processes in our societies, guided by, inter alia, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. First projects will start in 2020, with the Forum serving as a platform for dialogue between experts, stakeholders and citizens on major social, environmental, technological and economic issues.

In the same spirit of better understanding and policy coordination, the Franco-German Council of Economic Experts has been set up and started its work.

To advance and monitor the implementation of the Treaty of Aachen, both governments will continue to develop and adapt the multiannual agenda as set out in Article 23 of the Treaty.

France and Germany work together for peace and stability, based on the conviction of the primacy of diplomacy and international law in reaching sustainable solutions for the complex crises that affect the security of Europe.

We welcome recent positive developments in implementing the Minsk agreements and are looking forward to holding a summit in the Normandy format in Paris to advance towards the settlement of the conflict in the east of Ukraine. We underline our principled position on the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.

We also reaffirm our commitment to continuing our dialogue with Russia, based on common EU principles, including in the area of arms control and non-proliferation.

In the Middle East, we firmly condemn the current Turkish military activities in north-east Syria and urge Turkey to reverse its course, while we underline Turkey’s obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law. The renewed armed hostilities in the north-east have the potential to undermine the stability of the whole region, exacerbate civilian suffering, and provoke further displacements. Unilateral military action in north-east Syria seriously undermines progress achieved by the Global Coalition to defeat Daesh, of which France, Germany and Turkey are part. International criteria for the return of refugees as laid down by UNHCR – voluntary, safe and in dignity – must be upheld. The end of military actions and the beginning of a political process facilitated by the UN are urgently needed. We remain very concerned about the heightened situation of tension in the Gulf region as a result of the attack on Saudi infrastructure and on the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.

France and Germany are committed to continuing our joint diplomatic efforts with Great Britain to create conditions and facilitate dialogue with all relevant partners interested in de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East. We reaffirm our full commitment to the preservation and full implementation of the JCPoA. In this context, we urgently call on Iran to return to full compliance with its commitments under the nuclear agreement. Building on the JCPoA, we are convinced of the necessity to initiate negotiations with Iran on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery.

On Libya, France and Germany are convinced that only a political solution can bring stability. We aim to commit together with partners to bring about a ceasefire and the return to a political process facilitated by the UN, in particular via the Berlin process.

France and Germany are committed to their engagement in the Sahel region, as exemplified in their latest joint initiative for a Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel, aimed at strengthening the resilience of local defence and security forces through increased and better-coordinated international support, and are looking forward to the high-level conference to be held later this year.