On 22 January 2013, France and Germany were celebrating, with considerable pomp, the anniversary of the “Elysée Treaty”. However, 50 years after the treaty was signed, in a new world and a crisis in Europe, it would be more appropriate to revamp Franco-German relations … an idea, which at least inspired the Front de Gauche and Die Linke, whose co-operation has strengthened over the last few years.
On 22 January, France and Germany celebrated 50 years of Signing the “Elysée Treaty”, an act of reconciliation between the two countries following the victory over Nazism and the beginning of a hitherto unparalleled cooperation. French and German members of Parliament held a joint session in the Bundestag, attended by the German Chancellor and the French President.
This celebration, unfortunately, did not give rise to a discussion on the future of Franco-German cooperation in a world that has changed and a state of crisis in Europe. This is to be regretted, since the issue is crucial, as was pointed out by André Chassaigne, Chairman of the Front de Gauche in the French National Assembly, during a joint session: “The courage, the inspiration and the strength that had accompanied the signing of the ‘Elysée Treaty’ must, today, inspire us to reorient the way Europe is being constructed and so build a new future”.
This innovation came from the Front de Gauche and Die Linke, who were the only ones present who had prepared two joint statements, a programme of meetings and a public event on the eve of the official ceremony. Cooperation between the two movements has been strengthened over the last few years. This has led to very interesting concrete actions, in particular the simultaneous tabling, in December 2011, of a joint resolution before the French National Assembly and the Bundestag, proposing financial measures to overcome the crisis.
On 21 January, the Front de Gauche and Die Linke issued a press declaration to state their commitment to the Elysée Treaty as a key moment in the two countries’ history but above all to express their ambition to see a “process of collective drafting of a new Franco-German partnership in a left context” and putting forward the basic principle for a “peaceful and cooperative relationship among citizens”.
The Front de Gauche and Die Linke have outlined a programme of joint work, with the objective of developing political solidarity by “combining their efforts at foiling these austerity policies, the authoritarianism that accompanies them and opening the way to European progress”. Their next meeting will take place in Paris, where comrades of Die Linke will explain the consequences of the Hartz IV-laws for the German workers. This should help the parliamentary and popular struggle being conducted by the Front de Gauche against the “employment-competitiveness agreement”.
The 21 January events concluded with a public meeting in the Karl Liebknecht House, and an exchange of views between Bernd Riexinger, Co-President of Die Linke, and Pierre Laurent, National Secretary of the French Communist Party and President of the European Left Party.