Berlin – German lawmakers vowed on Monday to “strengthen and deepen” the country’s ties to France, as they marked the 55th anniversary of a landmark friendship treaty.
Officials from both countries are holding a series of events to mark the signing of the Elysee Treaty, at a time when ties between the two neighbours is seen as crucial for plans to reform the European Union.
The German parliament, the Bundestag, passed a resolution jointly proposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, the Social Democrats, the Free Democrats and the Greens.
It was adopted by a large majority during a session attended by French National Assembly president Francois de Rugy and other assembly members.
Populism and nationalist movements threaten all European nations
“Populism and nationalist movements threaten all European nations,” de Rugy said in a speech to the Bundestag.
Parliamentarians from the right-wing populist AfD criticized the resolution as “hypocrisy” and refused to applaud de Rugy after his speech.
A similar resolution will go before the French National Assembly later on Monday.
The Elysee Treaty was signed by then German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French president Charles de Gaulle, and was a symbol of an end to the long-standing hostility between the two countries.
Need to be accompanied by German ambitions
In a joint statement and video released on Sunday, current leaders Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron said that “our aim is develop joint positions on all major European and international issues.”
German Bundestag president Wolfgang Schaeuble is set to travel to Paris and attend the French assembly sitting in the evening.
“The treaty changed German-French ties, and changed them for the better,” he said.
Macron has stressed since his election that he needs Berlin’s help to push through reforms to strengthen the European Union, saying last week that his wide-ranging plans “need to be accompanied by German ambitions.”