By Joan Akello
On January 22, the Embassies of France and Germany in Kampala celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Franco-German Friendship Treaty called the Elysee Treaty. French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle issued a joint statement to mark the event.
“For centuries, our two countries were rivals, adversaries, even “hereditary enemies”. Their relationship went through its most tragic period during the two world wars, particularly with the crimes committed by the Nazi dictatorship.
The ambassors lauded Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle in signing the Elysée Treaty on 22 January 1963. “Fifty years on, the treaty is still just as relevant. The key themes of its preamble – reconciliation, young people, solidarity and Europe – embody the essence of our partnership.”
However, over the last 50 years Germany and France have sometimes held different positions to resolve important issues of shared interest.
“But we have proven that we are capable of understanding each other’s positions and ready to find mutually acceptable solutions.”
The ambassors say Germany and France will partner to ensure growth and prosperity, encourage innovation and education, protect the environment, guarantee a secure and sustainable energy supply, respond to the new questions of the computer age and act upon the commitment to peace, security and stability in the world.
Both countries share the same determination to work for a free, democratic Mali who decides her destiny.
“Along with our European Union partners, we shall make an important contribution to the future of that African state.”
The ambassors also said they will fight the risk of EU erosion which they say has increased with the ongoing economic crisis due to populism and nationalism
“As foreign ministers and European citizens, we are convinced that, in another context, the “European reflex” of the war and post-war generations must be maintained and built upon. Faced with the dangers we have to confront, and contrary to what is sometimes said, Europe is not the problem, it has to be the solution… This is what Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle would tell us today.”