France and Germany on Tuesday (22 January) signed a new friendship treaty to deepen their alliance at a time when Brexit and the rise of populist and nationalist forces threaten the EU, and the multilateral world order is under attack.
The 16-page treaty was signed in the German city of Aachen, the resting place of Charlemagne, who united much of western and central Europe during the early middle ages.
It marked the 56th anniversary of the Elysee treaty, a cornerstone of Franco-German reconciliation after the second world war.
“74 years, a single human lifetime, after the end of the second world war, what seems self-evident is being called into question again,” German chancellor Angela Merkel warned at the ceremony.
“That’s why, first of all, there needs to be a new commitment toward our responsibility within the EU, a responsibility held by Germany and France,” she added.
French president Emmanuel Macron warned at the signing that those “who forget the value of Franco-German reconciliation are making themselves accomplices of the crimes of the past. Those who spread lies are hurting the same people they are pretending to defend, by seeking to repeat history.”