Cross-border observation, interaction and institutionalisation:


A traditional scenario of successful institutional CBC is the French-German border, where a renewed Treaty has been recently signed, breathing new life into their place at the centre of the EU, and stressing its focus on young people, cultural exchanges and increase learning of each other's languages.

Cross-border spatial planning has always lied at the heart of AEBR work, and many successful achievements of today are based in good observation, planning and implementation of cross-border measures. Other organizations are also well equipped in this regards, and the example of the French-German border is one of the traditional scenarios of successful institutional CBC. You might be interested in the brochure France-Germany: cross-border observation at the heart of Europe”, prepared by the MOT and the German and French Governments on occasion of the signature of the Franco-German Treaty in Aachen on 22 January 2019. Available in DE, EN and FR.

By the way, the latest agreement in Aachen on 56th anniversary of the original Franco-German treaty in Paris is aimed at breathing new life into their place at the centre of the European Union. As the UK moves to leave the EU and a rising tide of populism challenges the core liberal values of the bloc, the new treaty commits wholeheartedly to defending it. See an interesting chronicle about this renewed Treaty in the BBC website.

It stresses a focus on young people, cultural exchanges and increase learning of each other's languages, with the aim of a Franco-German university. There are also plans for closer cross-border links and greater "bilingualism" on both sides of the border.

Exactly 56 years ago, the first Joint Declaration of Franco-German friendship was signed in Paris. "Since then, the spirit of the 1963 treaty has been evoked time and again by different French and German governments," says Dirk Leuffen, chair of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Konstanz, who believes there is no dramatic shift but instead "it continues or translates the old goals into today's challenges".

European Council president Donald Tusk sounded a note of caution in a speech he gave at the ceremony, Central and Eastern European states have refused to accept German and French leadership on migration, and Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared on the day the final treaty draft was announced during a visit to Poland: "It is time to oppose the Franco-German axis with an Italian-Polish axis," aiming to challenge France and Germany's dominance in the EU with a Eurosceptic alliance ahead of May elections to the European Parliament.

As another sign of our times, the treaty itself has been the subject of considerable fake news in France, with conspiracy theories about Président Macron going to "sign over" Alsace and Lorraine as part of the deal.

There is another interesting exercise implemented at the German-Polish Interaction Area, promoted by both national governments with a common vision. More information can be found at the German-Polish Spatial Planning portal.

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