The Weimar Triangle
In 1991, the French, German and Polish Foreign Ministers created the Weimar Triangle, based on the concept that the three countries shared a common vision of the future of Europe and that the reconciliation of societies would enable concerted European action.
The Triangle was initially the key support forum for German-Polish reconciliation, inspired by the Franco-German experience. After Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004, it became more of a forum for cooperation ahead of European Union negotiations.
High-level meetings occur regularly, achieving tangible results in the fields of foreign affairs, defence, culture and research.
The last Weimar Triangle Summit at the level of Heads of State and Government (French President, German Federal Chancellor and Polish President) was held in Warsaw on 7 February 2011, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Weimar format.
At the level of the Foreign Ministers, the last meeting took place on 15 October 2020 in Paris. It was preceded by meetings in Germany, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Triangle (Weimar, 28 August 2016) and the opening of the annual German Ambassadors Conference (Berlin, 29 August 2016). The ministers then met in Kyiv on 14 September 2016. On 7 August 2020, the three ministers published a joint declaration on the eve of the Belarusian elections.
A “Weimar-plus” format, bringing together the Foreign Ministers of the three countries as well as those of Italy and Spain, met in 2010, 2012 and 2015.
The most recent meeting of the Finance ministers took place on 4 July 2019 in Poznan (Poland). It led to the signing of a joint declaration to call for the modernization of European competition policy. The Agriculture Ministers of the three countries met in Warsaw in October 2019.
A meeting in the Weimar format at the level of the Europe Ministers took place in Lens, northern France, on 21 January 2020.
Members of parliament also meet in the same format. The latest Weimar Triangle meeting between the President of the French National Assembly and his two counterparts took place in Paris in 2016. The last meeting of the President of the French Senate with the President of the German Bundesrat and the President of the Polish Senate was held in Paris on 14 June 2019. The President of the Senate, Mr Gérard Larcher, had a discussion with his German and Polish counterparts by videoconference on 18 February 2021
Tangible cooperation projects have been implemented in numerous fields.
- Following the Mettlach Summit in 2006, a joint training module was rolled out for young German, French and Polish diplomats. This annual training session is organized by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Diplomatic Institute, the German Foreign Service Academy and the Polish Diplomatic Academy. The latest session was held in Warsaw on 29 and 30 January 2018.
- Cooperation between strategy, analysis and policy planning centres. This materialized in 2018 as a round-table on the future of Europe, organized by the Embassy of Poland in France.
Common Security and Defence Policy:
- Ministerial meeting with a view to relaunching Defence Europe in “Weimar plus” format, initiated by the High Representative of the European Union at the request of the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the three countries.
- Creation of a European Union operations and planning centre for the Horn of Africa in January 2021 - Strengthened structured cooperation in defence, which a majority of Member States take part in. This cooperation was decided on in 2018 at the suggestion of the French, German and Polish Foreign and Defence Ministers.
With the Viadrina European University in Frankfurt (Oder) as the central hub. France provides this university with two teacher-researchers. The tri-national “Europa” European Studies master’s degree, inaugurated in 2013, enables students to alternate semesters between the universities of Opole (Poland), Mainz (Germany) and Dijon (France).
- The Genshagen Foundation, located near Berlin (initially a Franco-German centre) added Poland in 2015 and conducts trilateral research projects.
- Conferences in Weimar format in the fields of humanities and social sciences organized by the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin and the University of Warsaw’s French-Polish Centre for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Adam Mickiewicz Prize awarded yearly since 2006 by the Committee for the Promotion of French-German-Polish Cooperation to institutions or personalities who have helped build relations between the 3 countries.
- In this regard, the Eurocités network received the prize for enabling several European projects to be set up between the three partners of the Weimar Triangle in the field of decentralized cooperation.
Civil society, understood as all non-institutional actors, drives the trilateral cooperation of the Weimar Triangle. Several projects have been set up by associations present in the three countries (youth exchanges, twinning programmes, cultural events). These associations are often partners and they form a network of citizens committed to building relations between France, Germany and Poland. Examples include the Europamobil project, financed by the Genshagen Foundation, and the French-German-Polish Youth Parliament project, coordinated by the Maison de l’Europe des Yvelines (Paris region). The Franco-German Cultural Council is organizing an event with the Ministry of Culture in Paris on 9 and 10 December 2021 on “Young people and Europe: starting with culture!”