France and Germany

Bilateral relations build on enhanced intergovernmental cooperation structures

The Treaty on Franco-German Friendship (known as the Élysée Treaty), signed on 22 January 1963 by German Federal Chancellor Adenauer and France’s General de Gaulle, is the symbol of the relationship forged between France and Germany. The Treaty established a binding schedule of regular meetings at all levels (heads of State and government, ministers and senior officials), aimed at encouraging cooperation between the two countries. At the 25th and 40th anniversaries of the Treaty, the existing arrangements were clarified and extended through the creation of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council (CFADS/DFVSR) and the Franco-German Council of Ministers (CMFA/DFMR), which last convened in Metz on 7 April 2016.

Economic and trade relations.

Germany is France’s main trading partner. It is its leading customer (exports of €71.3 billion) and its leading supplier (imports of €86.5 billion). Germany’s trade dependency on France is more limited. In 2015, France fell into second place amongst Germany’s trading partners (€170 billion of trade), just behind the United States (€173 billion). France is Germany’s third-largest supplier (7.1% share) and its second-largest customer (8.5% share).

The French and German economies are extremely intertwined and complementary. 2,737 French companies are present in Germany (accounting for 30% of those present abroad in the eurozone) and employ 363,000 people. According to French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), they generate turnover of €147 billion. Meanwhile, 3,200 German companies are established in France, employing 310,000 people and generating turnover of €141 billion.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

French-German cultural and scientific cooperation is particularly strong, drawing on an extensive network of institutions including:

  • OFAJ/DFJW, the Franco-German Youth Office, which was created in 1963 in the framework of the Élysée Treaty and offers activities and exchanges in all areas related to young people and programmes in which 200,000 of them take part each year;
  • 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 integrated programmes leading to binational diplomas (6,300 students);
  • ARTE, a French-German cultural television channel with a European focus;
  • the Franco-German Cultural Council (HCCFA/DFKR), which was created in 1988, is responsible for informing the decisions of the French and German governments on major bilateral and European issues regarding culture;

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

  • 1 French Institute 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);
  • 1 science and technology service, situated in Berlin;
  • 1 French Research Institute Abroad (IFRE);
  • 15 schools from the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) network and two Franco-German lycées in Freiburg and Saarbrücken, as well as one in Buc, France.

This cooperation is also embodied by diplomatic and consular co-location projects (such as the construction of a Franco-German embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, since 2013).

Updated: 20 December 2017