DATE: November 8, 4:00 PM
PLACE: 1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor

The Center for European Studies at the University of Michigan is pleased to welcome Christian Brecht, Consul General of Germany, and Graham Paul, Consul General of France, to discuss “The Challenges Facing Europe: A French-German Approach.”

The visit comes at an opportune moment. The Nobel Committee recently announced that the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union, in recognition for its past role in fostering a lasting peace between France and Germany, two countries that were at war three times between 1870 and 1945. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Elysée Treaty, which commemorated the reconciliation of these two nations after the Second World War. Signed by President Charles de Gaulle of France and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of the Federal Republic of Germany, the treaty also recognized the fruits of postwar Franco-German cooperation, work that had resulted in the creation of the European Common Market in 1957. Without the cooperation and support of the French and German governments, the process of European integration would never have begun nor would it have proceeded so far.

The EU’s Nobel Peace Prize is an incitement to renew this effort. Today, Europe faces political and economic crises that threaten to put a halt to the process of integration that began in the postwar years. For the first time, European governments are contemplating the possibility of taking a step back, of making Europe smaller rather than larger, of less Europe rather than more. At such a moment, continued Franco-German cooperation is essential to the process of rescuing the vision of a harmonious and united Europe.