FRANCE AND GERMANY: THE EUROPEAN COUPLE
The Élysée Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Friendship, was concluded by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer on January 22, 1963. It set the seal on reconciliation between the two countries. With it, Germany and France established a new foundation for relations that ended centuries of rivalry between them. In the following years, the friendship has evolved. Disagreement and criticism are quite present nowadays, especially since the election of the Socialist French President François Hollande. However, they remain privileged partners and still consider themselves to be the pillar and engine of the European Union together.
A SINGLE DRIVER LICENSE IN ALL THE EUROPEAN UNION
In another news that shows the degree of integration in the European Union, there are talks of moving to a single driver’s license. The primary concern of the Commission, however, is fraud. A person subject to a prohibition from driving in France, for example, can therefore obtain a driver’s license in another country. It is expected that member states will place a chip in the card to facilitate the exchange of data between countries.
A NEW PRESIDENT FOR THE EUROGROUP
On Monday 21, January, after eight years at the head of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker handed over to Dutch Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The results of his term seem mixed, as he said: “”The results are mixed because we were not able to restore the confidence of Europeans. We are facing a real crisis of confidence, because we can not explain the reasons for the crisis and we have not able to explain what we were doing.” The bailout of Greece, the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism, the Pact budget and plan to help the banking sector in Spain are among the achievements of the Eurogroup.
REFERENDUM ON BRITAIN’S PLACE IN EUROPE
In response to the news of last week, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, promised referendum on Britain’s place in Europe if its party wins the next elections, in 2015. For him, people should have the choice. This idea was criticized by Verhofstadt, who leads the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament: “By holding out the prospect of renegotiating the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU and subjecting it to a referendum, David Cameron is playing with fire.” Labour leader Ed Milliband said that David Cameron was now led by the interests of his party and not the economy of the country. The US has also reacted: U.S. President Barack Obama last week told Cameron that “the United States values a strong UK in a strong European Union.” And Philip Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary for European affairs, also made it clear that there would be consequences for Britain if it either left the EU or played a lesser role in Brussels.