Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Erdogan to rid Turkish institutions of ‘separatist cancer’ after coup attempt

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of summer music festivals in France

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Going for gold: French athletes train for Rio Olympics

Read more

#TECH 24

Digital beauty

Read more

FOCUS

Women doctors in Pakistan challenge the status quo

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump hopes to reset America's trade relations

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump's speech was just another scam'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cazeneuve at the heart of Nice security controversy

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Africa: Prosecutors seek longer sentence for Oscar Pistorius

Read more

Europe Europe

France to host German troops in a post-WWII first

Latest update : 2009-02-04

In a historic move, France has agreed to let a German battalion be stationed in eastern France. According to German media, this new post-war cooperation involves 500 soldiers who will be based in Alsace-Lorraine.

AFP - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed Wednesday that a German battalion will shortly be stationed on French soil for the first time since World War II.
   
"France will host a German unit permanently on its soil," the two leaders wrote in a joint statement published by lemonde.fr, stressing "the historic significance of this new step in Franco-German friendship."
   
The hundreds of German troops will be serving in the Franco-German brigade set up in 1989 and which currently has 2,300 French soldiers and 2,800 German forces stationed side-by-side in southwest Germany.
   
Sarkozy and Merkel were to meet this weekend at a security conference in the Bavarian capital Munich and might then reveal details of the agreement, such as where exactly the German troops would be stationed.
   
Der Spiegel magazine reported last month that 500 German soldiers would be stationed in the border town of Colmar but reports in the French press cited Strasbourg, Metz or Bitche as possible bases.
   
German troops occupied much of France during World War II and the eastern Alsace-Lorraine region has a patchwork history of annexation and occupation under both countries.
   
On the website of French daily Le Monde the two leaders also called for "real co-operation" between NATO and the European Union, saying the "strategic partnership" between them was not strong enough.
   
"To our great regret, the 'strategic partnership' between NATO and the EU has fallen short of our expectations due to disagreements that persist between certain nations," they wrote.
   
After meeting Saturday at the Munich security conference, an annual meeting called the "Davos of defence," the two were to celebrate the 60th anniversary of NATO on April 3 and 4 on both sides of the Rhine, at Strasbourg and Kehl.
   
The Franco-German Brigade was set up by then French president Francois Mitterrand and German chancellor Helmut Kohl to increase military cooperation between the two former enemies.
   
There are German officers based in Strasbourg in eastern France who are engaged with the NATO mission Eurocorps, but no German military unit has been stationed in the country since the end of World War II over 60 years ago.
   
There are also regular exchanges between the two countries including German officers who study at French defence academies and helicopter pilots who train in France.
 

Date created : 2009-02-04

COMMENT(S)