12th Franco-German Day – 22 January 2015
Every year 22 January provides an opportunity to celebrate Franco-German friendship. This symbolic date was chosen in 2003 on the 40th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty – signed on 22 January 1963 and setting the seal on reconciliation between France and Germany.
Although the day provides an opportunity to highlight what has been achieved in tandem by France and Germany at the political level, it also serves to heighten public awareness of the partner country’s culture and language, especially in schools. Numerous events are thus organised across France and Germany, with notable support from the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO).
On this anniversary, and following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Harlem Désir and his opposite number Michael Roth also wished to reaffirm the commitment of our two countries to combating racism and anti-Semitism.
They will therefore be travelling to New York to take part in the extraordinary session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to the combat against anti-Semitism.
A few days before this, on 11 January 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in the march for Republican values in Paris alongside President of the Republic, thus testifying to Germany’s solidarity with France.
In 2006 the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of France and Germany instituted a regular “Discovery Day” organised by the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO). This offers French and German young people an introduction to the world of work in a binational context.
For this 9th edition a group of 20 students will be welcomed on 22 January 2015 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where they will have an opportunity for discussion with the Franco-German mission and German exchange diplomats in post at the Quai d’Orsay.
The students will also be visiting the German Embassy, the Franco-German office for renewable energy and the Maison Heinrich Heine in the heart of CIUP, the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.
In a spirit of celebration the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) supports a large number of events across France and Germany – workshops, concerts, culinary tasting sessions and more – organised by its partners and at which possibilities for Franco-German exchanges are presented.
From 22 January to 28 February 2015, the German Information Centre Paris (CIDAL) is proposing an exhibition on the “Le Geste de Verdun” inspired by the photograph of François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl standing hand-in-hand at the Douaumont Ossuary on 22 September 1984.
Visitors will have an opportunity to see drawings in the German and French press inspired by this subject, either updating or reworking it.
The drawings are revelatory of the enormous impact of this gesture by François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, one that still resonates in our collective memory over thirty years on, making the friendship between France and Germany a model for reconciliation of universal significance.