France and Germany have agreed to deepen a 1963 treaty of post-war reconciliation in a bid to show that the European Union’s main axis remains strong and to counter growing Euroskeptic nationalism among other members including Hungary, news agency Reuters reported Wednesday.
The extension to the 1963 Élysée Treaty approved by the German and French cabinets will be signed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in the German border city of Aachen, an historical symbol of European concord, on January 22.
“Both states will deepen their cooperation in foreign affairs, defense, external and internal security and development, and at the same time work on strengthening the ability of Europe to act independently,” states the treaty text, seen by the international news agency.
Facing new challenges from President Donald Trump in the United States, as well as EU governments in Italy, Poland and Hungary, Merkel and Macron are keen to head off any breakthrough for Euroskeptic parties in the upcoming European Parliament elections in May.
On Wednesday, Italian far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is on a state visit in Poland, said he wants his country and Poland to join forces to reshape Europe in his quest for a Euroskeptic alliance ahead of the EP voting.
Salvini said that Poland and Italy “will be part of the new spring of Europe, the renaissance of European values,” which would create a “new equilibrium” where the dominance of France and Germany is diminished, according to a report by Russian English-language news portal RT.