Franco-German treaty a step toward 'European army': Merkel - International

Bridges over the Rhine connecting France and Germany

Bridges over the Rhine connecting France and Germany

"Germany and France must assume their responsibility and show the way forward", he told an audience of European leaders.

It's almost 60 years since the first Joint Declaration of Franco-German friendship was signed by Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle.

The original Elysee Treaty was signed in 1963 by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Charles de Gaulle, who in the same year vetoed the British application to join the European Community, the precursor of today's European Union.

To this end, France and Germany pledge to increase cooperation in the areas of foreign and defense policy, fighting crime and terrorism, worldwide development and research. In fact the treaty has been openly planned since 2017 when President Macron made a speech about Europe at the Sorbonne. Macron and Merkel plan to sign it in in the German border city of Aachen.

Russian journalist Leonid Bershidsky outlined several obstacles he believes hamper the agreement, such as divergent German-French interests in areas like defense and economic cooperation.

The treaty also promises a commitment to economic convergence, aiming to form "a German-French economic area with common rules", set up a panel of experts to give economic recommendations to each government and boost research cooperation in the digital economy and renewable energies.

"Symbolic expressions of solidarity are important in these times of disunity and fracturing", he wrote in a Bloomberg column. Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. The German chancellor is eyeing the exit, having ceded control of her Christian Democratic Union party to an ally, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Another group wore the yellow vests adopted by members of the grassroots rebellion against Mr Macron.

France summons Italian envoy after deputy PM's Africa comments
Italy, on the other hand, summoned the French ambassador, while Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demanded that Macron apologise. Di Maio then called on the European Union to impose sanctions on France as a punishment for "impoverishing Africa".

Merkel, famous for her "step-by-step" approach to politics, is wary of the impact that a perceived surrender of German sovereignty might have on European and state elections later this year. Spain has a minority government.

Europeans feeling economically squeezed and wary of mass immigration have turned increasingly to parties on the edge of the political spectrum in recent years - including Alternative for Germany, the League in Italy and France's far-right National Rally, all of which are fiercely critical of the European Union and its executive in Brussels.

A protester wearing a yellow vest faces riot police during a demonstration of the "Yellow Vests" (Gilets Jaunes) against rising costs of living on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.

Other false rumours circulating online include the rumour that France aims to share its permanent seat on the United Nations security council with Germany, part of broader accusations that the centrist president - as the far-right leader Marine Le Pen alleged - is determined to "dismantle the power of our country".

In fact the treaty says the countries will seek to have more "exchanges" between their United Nations teams in NY and that France supports Germany having its own security council seat - at present the only ones with a permanent seat are China, France, Russia the U.S. and UK. Without strong French-German cooperation, he added, "European cooperation will not exist".

She added that one of the big challenges will be selling the Aachen accord to other European countries.

"Both states will deepen their cooperation in foreign affairs, defense, external and internal security and development and at the same time work on strengthening the ability of Europe to act independently", states the treaty text, according to Reuters.

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