First of all, let's remind ourselves; the first ever partnership treaty between Germany and France was signed on Jan. 22, 1963. The "Elysee Treaty" which was signed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle, following hundreds of years of warfare between the French and the Germans, played a very important role on the formation of close ties for both nations. Through German-French common institutions formed after this treaty, millions of Germans and French found the opportunity to get rid of their prejudices by visiting the other nation. Since then, within the EU, although not always in complete harmony, there has always been cooperation between France and Germany.
January 22, 2019, which is a date where a new treaty is being mentioned 56 years later after the previous one was signed, is also a very important date. The Aachen Treaty, which was signed last Tuesday between Germany and France by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron, occurred at a particularly difficult time for the EU. Maybe the two biggest nations of the EU considered the treaty a necessity for this reason. An attempt to strengthen the EU with the Aachen Treaty at the beginning of 2019, when the Brexit deal has become a serious crisis and the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU is imminent, is a very smart move.
A weak EU is a situation that is not desired by Germany in particular. Both Germany and France require a strong EU. The strengthening of the EU can be achieved through the exemplary collaboration of Germany and France. Those who share the hope that the goals that were not reached due to the "veto system" with EU member states may finally be accepted more easily by the whole EU once they are utilized in Germany and France in private, might be correct.
The Aachen Treaty proves that Germany and France are dedicated to many important subjects for the EU. We are not surprised that the strongest opposition to this move came from the far-right Le Pen in a period where mistrust toward the EU is growing in public opinion. Opposition to the EU is naturally against the idea of the renewal of the EU.
The reaction of the far-right is not surprising when we take a look at the articles of the treaty. The Aachen Treaty envisions a strong collaboration on European policies, economy and defense. In addition, by forming a "common trade area," the treaty will decrease bureaucratic hindrances and thus will offer both nations greater advantages in foreign trade. They will form new rules regarding the weapons trade. They are especially aiming at carrying out defense and foreign affairs policies together. In addition to all of this, in the field of education, they are sharing some bonding principles like mutual recognition of diplomas and common universities and kindergartens that will bring their citizens together.
Obviously, this treaty has to be approved by both nation's national assemblies. It is not expected that this will become a problem.
Both Germany and France no longer wish to lose time, in a period where the EU faces many problems, refugees being the most important one.
They are aiming to make, what the majority of states seem incapable of, a reality as two dedicated and strong nations.
In a new world order where the United Kingdom leaves the EU and the U.S. tells them that "you are on your own," as was the case in the last NATO meeting, it is impossible for the EU to remain in the past. The EU has to adapt to this new world order.
Germany and France, with a common treaty, are at least taking the first step.
We, who are watching from Turkey as an EU candidate nation, should say "Good Luck." Our wish is for those who "wish for a strong EU" to see the difference between "an EU without Turkey" and "an EU strengthened with Turkey."