Having signed a new friendship pact designed to highlight the deep comprehensive cooperation initiatives between Europe’s two core countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country and France have both taken an important step towards creating a common military culture that will eventually lead to the creation of a European army.
Merkel said the closer cooperation that she and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed upon while signing the treaty in the historic German border town of Aachen would lead to a deeper form of cooperation that would help fill the gap left by the growing rift with the US after President Donald J. Trump threatened to pull the United States out of the NATO military alliance – a move that would destroy the trans-Atlantic security structure that has been a pillar of the post-World War II order and the main line of defence for both Europe and the United States against Russia’s aggressive military posture and Moscow’s ambitions to re-establish its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
Trump’s repeated threats to leave NATO – which he claims is an extortion racket and has often employed the Kremlin’s rhetoric in calling the alliance “obsolete” – has deeply alarmed foreign policy heads on both sides of the Atlantic, all of whom who say a potential US withdrawal would be a major victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a major unforced reversal of the West’s victory in the Cold War.
The newly-signed friendship treaty provides for a bilateral mutual defence clause in the event that either country is ever attacked by a third party. A key component of the agreement also includes calls for joint combat deployments and the formation of a Franco-German Defence and Security Council.
The text of the agreement that was signed with both the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk both in attendance. Commenting on the agreement, Juncker said, “Franco-German friendship is not only a dream but a reality and a necessity” as it is a guarantee of peace in Europe.
“Those who forget the value of Franco-German reconciliation are complicit in the crimes of the past, those who caricature or spread the lie hurt the people they claim to defend by stammering our stories,” said Macron, who also added, that Germany and France “must assume their responsibilities and show the way towards real sovereignty, the protection of peoples.”
NATO welcomes the treaty
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the treaty, saying that France and Germany had a day earlier briefed the alliance on its defence and security aspects.
“For decades, Franco-German cooperation has been essential for security and stability in Europe,” said Stoltenberg in a statement. “The Aachen Treaty is a reminder of the historical significance of this partnership, of how far Europe has come since the devastation of the Second World War and of the importance of continuing to work towards a Europe that is wholly free and at peace.”