Just one day before David Cameron gave his rambling speech somewhere in London, France and Germany celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 Elysée Treaty, signed by President Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. From Berlin, they published their declaration on Germany and France at the service of Europe (text attached). It is useful to remember that the 1963 Treaty was part of de Gaulle`s effort to assure French leadership over Germany; and to do so by keeping Britain out and turning the supranational European Communities into a more intergovernmental political union. De Gaulle`s successor, Georges Pompidou allowed Britain to come in, largely to have a counterweight to Germany. The latter wish was never fulfilled. Britain would become a troublesome member rather than a major force for the better. As a consequence French-German cooperation would become the cornerstone for further European unification. Whatever the problems in the relationship, the fiftieth anniversary is a reason for celebration: their reconciliation and cooperation - launched by Robert Schuman and confirmed in 1963 - changed Europe for the better.

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Frans A.M. Alting von Geusau


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