France and Germany


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Political relations

The Treaty on Franco-German Friendship (known as the Élysée Treaty), signed on 22 January 1963 by German Federal Chancellor Adenauer and France’s President de Gaulle, is the foundation of the relationship forged between France and Germany. It established vast systematic consultations through regular meetings at all levels, which have formed a Franco-German “reflex” in the two countries. The arrangements have since been clarified, such as with the creation of the Franco-German Council of Ministers (CMFA/DFMR) in 2003, which meets annually, alternately in France and Germany.

The Treaty on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration, or “Treaty of Aachen”, signed on 22 January 2019 by President Macron and Federal Chancellor Merkel, sought to strengthen bilateral ties in a European framework and help the countries address contemporary issues. It came with a list of key projects, supplemented by the CMFA/DFMR meeting on 31 May 2021. The Treaty of Aachen created the Franco-German Cross-border Cooperation Committee, the Franco-German Joint Citizens’ Fund and the Franco-German Forum for the Future.

The CMFA/DFMR met most recently at the Élysée Palace on 22 January 2023, coinciding with celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty. This major annual meeting on the governments’ bilateral agenda sought to give new momentum equal to the geopolitical and energy challenges at a time when the fundamentals of foreign policy and German prosperity were shaken in what was described as a “change of era”, or Zeitenwende.

Franco-German parliamentary cooperation has also been stepped up. The Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly (APFA/DFPV), made up of 50 French and German parliamentarians, which first sat in March 2019, seeks to foster better bilateral cooperation. Its board is chaired by Brigitte Klinkert of France and Nils Schmid of Germany.

French presence

French Consulates General: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart
French community in Germany: 96,606 registered in 2022 (up 5.1% on 2021)
German community in France: 87,700 residents


Recent visits

  • Visit by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to Alsace with her French counterpart, Catherine Colonna (21 July 2023)
  • Visit by Federal Chancellor Scholz to Paris, for the joint meeting alongside President Macron with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine (8 February 2023)
  • CMFA/DFMR meeting in Paris and celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty (22 January 2023)
  • Visit by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to Berlin (25 November 2022)
  • Visit by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck, and Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner, to Paris, received by President Macron (21-23 November 2022)
  • Visit by Federal Chancellor Scholz to Paris (26 October 2022)
  • Visit by President Macron to Berlin for German Unity Day (3 October 2022)
  • Visit by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna to Berlin (24 May 2022)
  • Visit by President Macron to Berlin (9 May 2022)
  • Visit by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian to Berlin (23 February 2022)
  • Visit by President Macron to Berlin (25 January 2022)
  • Visit by Federal Chancellor Scholz to Paris, on his first visit to France (10 December 2021)
  • Visit by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to Paris, on her first visit to France (8-9 December 2021)


French Ambassador to Germany: François Delattre
Ambassador of Germany to France: Stephan Steinlein

Economic relations

Germany is France’s leading trading partner, as its no. 1 supplier (French imports from Germany totalled €92.5 billion in 2022) and its leading customer (€80.3 billion in exports in 2022), while France is Germany’s fourth-largest trading partner. After being overtaken as Germany’s leading trading partner by the United States in 2015, France has held the fourth place since 2017, behind China, the Netherlands and the United States.

The French and German economies are extremely intertwined and complementary, and there is much investment in both directions. Some 5,700 French companies are present in Germany, where they employ more than 400,000 people, while around 4,500 German companies employ 320,000 people in France.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Under the Élysée Treaty, Germany designates a plenipotentiary for Franco-German cultural and educational relations. This post is held on a rotating basis by the Minister-President of a Land designated by the Federal Chancellor for four years, upon a proposal from the Conference of German Minister-Presidents. On 1 January 2023, Saarland’s Minister-President, Anke Rehlinger, took over from Hendrik Würst.

Our particularly intense cultural and scientific cooperation draws on a strong network of institutions, including:

  • The Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO), founded in 1963, which has enabled almost 9 million young people from both countries to take part in 320,000 exchange programmes (the mobility target was raised to 10 million over the period 1963-2023);
  • The Franco-German University (FGU), which was created in 1997 and is made up of a network of French and German higher education establishments that offer 189 integrated programmes leading to binational diplomas, in which 6,300 students are enrolled;
  • ARTE, a French-German cultural television channel with a European focus launched in 1992, which in 2020 launched a “European Collection” with its French and Germanophone audiovisual partners;
  • The Franco-German Cultural Council (HCCFA/DFKR), which was created in 1988, informs the decisions of the two governments on major bilateral and European cultural matters;

The French cultural, educational, scientific and technical cooperation network in Germany is diverse:

  • 1 Institut Français of Germany, with 11 satellites in addition to Berlin;
  • 5 specialized offices in Berlin (books, cinema, theatre and dance, music and fine art);
  • 11 binational structures (Franco-German cultural centres and satellites);
  • 1 historical research centre (French Institute of History in Germany, in Frankfurt);
  • Embassy Science and Technology Service (SST), in Berlin;
  • 1 French Research Institute Abroad (IFRE);
  • 15 schools accredited by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) and three Franco-German high schools in Freiburg, Saarbrücken and Hamburg, as well as those in France, in Buc and Strasbourg.

This cooperation is also embodied in cultural collocation projects and integrated Franco-German cultural centres (the first was inaugurated in Palermo in 2021, in line with the Treaty of Aachen, and a second will open in Erbil, Iraq).

Other cooperation

The creation of the Cross-Border Cooperation Committee on 22 January 2020 helped strengthen cross-border cooperation. The Committee has a joint secretariat in Kehl, Germany, and addresses cross-border irritants. For example, it issues recommendations to the Franco-German Council of Ministers on various subjects, including support for cross-border education, issues related to French and German environmental car stickers, tax issues for cross-border workers, development and improvement of cross-border rail connections and foreign stakeholders in local French public-sector companies.

Cross-border cooperation stepped up considerably during the COVID-19 crisis, when French patients from the Grand-Est region were treated in German hospitals and efforts were made to preserve border-area life in the context of national restrictive public health measures. In spring 2020, the Committee met in expert format almost every day, and held four video-conferences with French and German Europe Ministers.

The Commission last met in Strasbourg on 17 October 2022, chaired by the Secretaries-General for French-German cooperation and the French and German Europe Ministers, Laurence Boone and Anna Lührmann.

Updated: February 2024