Ambassadors Celebrate Franco-German Treaty
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 02:02
French Ambassador Francois Delattre joined officials from the French and German embassies Friday in a roundtable discussion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, or Treaty of Friendship, between Germany and France.
“The Treaty of Friendship is still very alive and productive on all meaningful levels,” BMW Center for German and European Studies Director Jeffrey Anderson said.
Delattre focused his keynote address on the nature of French-U.S. relations, the continued importance of collaboration between France and Germany and the Arab Spring.
“The Franco-German relationship is the main engine of European construction and therefore is one of the main features of the transatlantic relationship [between the United States and France],” Delattre said. “I would like to tell you how profoundly France and Germany share a common and continuing relationship.”
French President and member of the Socialist Party François Hollande’s win over former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 election provoked some tension between France and Germany, especially as they struggled to deal with fiscal problems within the European Union. Nonetheless, Delattre pointed to these tensions as a foundation for European advancement.
“The fact that we come from different backgrounds is the best leverage we have to be a leader in the European integration process,” Delattre said. “Chancellor [Angela] Merkel and President Hollande have a wonderful personal relationship.”
Neil Walther (GRD ’14) agreed with Delattre’s assessment of current Franco-German relations.
“Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, openly supported the president who lost, Sarkozy, and so that may have slighted the current president of France a little,” Walther said. “But at the same time, [Hollande] flew to Berlin on his inauguration day, so that’s always a good sign. I think there might have been a little turbulence before the election, but afterwards I think everything is normal.”
Furthermore, Walther thought the event was a timely commemoration of a historic treaty.
“The panels looked at varying aspects of the relationships,” Walther said. “[They] looked at the economic factors, the security issues, social issues, it covered a wide breadth. I thought it was well representative of the state of relations.”
Marcus Dominick (COL ’14), an intern at the French embassy, thought the event clearly explained the state of French international relations.
“I thought [Delattre] was a very down-to-earth and engaging speaker, charming in a way,” Dominick said. “I thought it was a pretty convincing account of the French-American relationship.”
The BMW Center of German and European Studies sponsored the event.