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France and Germany Fifty Years after the Élysée Treaty

Francesca Vassallo

The Élysée Treaty turned fifty on 22 January 2013—signed in 1963

between France and Germany, under the watchful eyes of French President

Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

Although celebrated every decade, this particular anniversary comes at a

crucial time in the countries’ bilateral relationship. After a few tumultuous

years of disagreement and distance between Paris and Berlin over serious

economic and foreign policy issues, German Chancellor Angela Merkel

and French President François Hollande have seized the opportunity of

the year-long anniversary calendar to work on political rapprochement, in

the spirit of one of the original purposes of the Treaty itself.

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Sarkozy and Merkel: The Undeniable Relevance of the Franco-German Bilateral Relationship in Europe

Francesca Vassallo

In 2013 France and Germany will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, signed by the two countries to create a close collaboration in the interest of peace and prosperity. Over the course of five decades, different couples of French Presidents and German Chancellors have dealt with the Paris-Berlin relationship in slightly different ways, some with more success than others. Despite the many changes in the European context and to the balance in the alliance between France and Germany, the initial motivation and meaning of the treaty remains astonishingly valid today, especially in light of its positive contribution to European integration. Even with many possible factors weakening the two countries' core relations, the Franco-German duo retains its historically dominant influence in successful European governance, as the recent Merkozy situation showed.

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The EU Discourse in the 2012 French Presidential Election

Francesca Vassallo

The 2012 French presidential election witnessed an increase in discussion about the European Union and its policies. To an equal degree the two top contenders, Nicolas Sarkozy and Fran?ois Hollande, criticized European policies and made promises to rectify EU mistakes, if elected. European institutions and decisions became scapegoats for domestic failures and tough economic choices, reflecting a long-term surge in Euroscepticism among French voters, especially in comparison to EU averages. Both candidates sought advantage by engaging in “EU-Negative“ campaigns to be able to mobilize as many potential voters as possible. Surprisingly, a half-year of EU criticisms has not led, at least in the short term, to a further increase in anti-EU positions in the public opinion.