On 22 January 1963, Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle laid the foundation stone of German-French friendship when they signed the Treaty of Élysée. Both countries wanted to transform the conflicts of the past into a driving force for peace in Europe and cultivate an intense exchange in the future. The aim was, above all, to promote the exchange of culture and young people in the heart of society. The founding of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) is rooted in this historical event. To mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Elysée on 22 January 2003, the French President Jacques Chirac and Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declared the 22 January as the German-French Day and sent a renewed signal to the young generation. The objective was to create enthusiasm among young people for each other’s language and culture.
Hundreds of events
The first German-French day was celebrated on 22 January 2004. Meanwhile, the activities focusing on this day extend far beyond the day itself, and almost a whole month of German-French activities have developed surrounding it. The FGYO has compiled hundreds of events on its internet page which are taking place in January 2016 throughout Germany: students from the 7th to 13th grades are meeting in their schools, having breakfast together, listening to talks, or visiting French companies. It sounds like fun, but it is also strengthening the future of German-French friendship which has again been clearly illustrated following the recent terror attacks in Paris.
German-French Day on 22 January 2016