The new cooperation treaty that President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel will sign on 22 January aims to relaunch the Franco-German couple in a "difficult" European context through a series of concrete projects, notably in the defense field, explains the 'Elysium.

"This is an important moment to close the ranks, to show that the Franco-German couple is a base that continues to exist, which can progress and revive," said Monday the French Presidency.

"This is a new dynamic that will be implemented because in this draft treaty, there is a desire to assert our common destiny, including our common security," said Thursday the head of French diplomacy Jean- Yves Le Drian on the CNEWS news channel.

The signing comes as the two leaders are weakened, Angela Merkel preparing to leave his post in autumn 2021 and Emmanuel Macron facing the crisis of "yellow vests".

The Franco-German couple must be all the more "on the offensive, efficient, committed and coordinated" that the European context is "objectively difficult", says the Elysee in reference to Brexit and the rise of populism.

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle will "complement" that of the Elysee signed in 1963 between General de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer and that materialized the Franco-German reconciliation through the creation of the Franco-German Office of youth (OFAJ) and youth exchanges between the two countries.

"The thread of the (new) treaty is the Franco-German convergence, the convergence of our economies, our societies (…) at the service of strengthening the European project", we note at the Elysee .

"We have never gone so far and so explicitly in the approach to defense," notes the French Presidency.

The two countries will thus adopt "a mutual defense clause which recognizes that aggression, a threat to one of the two countries will be seen as an aggression, a threat by the other country that will do its utmost to help its partner".

This solidarity, inspired by NATO and EU treaties, will concretely translate into "the deployment of common civil security, intelligence and even military means" in the event of a terrorist attack.

"The principle of cooperation will also be laid on major military industrial and equipment programs, like the tank and fighter jet projects of the future already launched by the two countries.

At the societal level, Paris and Berlin want to initiate a dynamic "OFAJ 2.0" by creating a "citizen fund" that will finance youth mobility as well as joint community projects or twinning between schools and cities.

The two capitals are also planning a "common digital platform of information content" on which several media (France Televisions, ARD, Arte …) have already "started to think".

They will also strengthen cross-border cooperation to facilitate everyday life in terms of standards, taxation and social contributions on both sides of the border.

A joint project to reconvert the French site of Fessenheim, near the German border and whose nuclear power plant is to be closed in the summer of 2020, is also under study.

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