On 22 January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron signed a new friendship treaty between Germany and France. The treaty provides for the establishment of German-French cultural institutes in Erbil, Bishkek, Rio de Janeiro and Palermo. Going forward, the Goethe-Institut and the Institut français will move closer together.
The President of the Goethe-Institut, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, emphasised the relevance of expanded collaboration between Germany and France, stating, “Europe is also a cultural project. This is underscored by the signing of the Treaty of Aachen, which includes the political framework conditions for joint German-French cultural institutes. The Goethe-Institut and the Institut français will fill these promising perspectives with life and, through practical action, strengthen the bond and make it appealing for other partners. The joint cultural institutions are independent spaces of freedom, creativity and understanding with a shared responsibility for a European cultural space that will invigorate dialogue with the world.”
A positive European affirmation
The Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, Johannes Ebert, said, “We are very pleased about the establishment of Franco-German institutes within the network of the Goethe-Institut. This political agreement is based on the discussions the Goethe-Institut has held with its French partners in recent months. It’s an important signal for European collaboration and lies within the direct tradition of long-standing and trusting cooperation in joint accommodations such as the Franco-German Cultural Center in Ramallah, in numerous cooperation projects with the Institut français and joint work in the network of European national cultural institutes (EUNIC). In line with the European idea, we will also cultivate and actively shape our wide-ranging work with other European partners in the coming years. The cultural institutes’ cooperation is an effective and successful example of how the cultural diversity of Europe can act as a unifying bond and a positive European affirmation both internally and externally.”