There are three annual political holidays that I try not to miss. May 9th, the Day of Europe. July 14th, the French national holiday. Yes, I am German and comfortable with it, but October 3rd doesn't spark a lot of patriotic emotions with me (in contrast to the football worldcup which definitely does). July 14th with its fireworks around the Eiffel Tower is certainly a more memorable event. The third holiday is the day of Franco-German friendship on January 22nd.
I am reminded of the former two holidays by the media, but I always miss January 22nd. Was I not paying attention, or were the media not paying attention?
Well, I admit, I forgot it. However, what speaks in favor of me is that all self-proclaimed Franco-German blogs on the web including Vasistas, l'Europe en blogs, Le Blog Franco-Allemand, Le Franco-Allemand, Deuxzero, deutsch-franzosisch, Frankreich heute, Bernard de Montferrand, Scharlotte en France, Komische Petite française, Berlin & Co, Le Blogueur and the Franco-German couple blogging at Fenris et Fionan also forgot it.
Does the holiday have such a low importance that nobody cares to remember it? No! Praise goes to Das Frankreich-Blog - France Blog, which extensively covered the Franco-German Day. And on a political level, Germany and France celebrated as well. Secretaries of State Werner Hoyer and Laurent Wauqiez met in Paris on Tuesday, January 25 for a working lunch, followed by a visit to a French kindergarten and a debate at the French elite university Sciences Po. Foreign Ministers Guido Westerwelle and Michèle Alliot-Marie (sadly, Bernard Kouchner has eventually been shuffled out of the cabinet by Sarkozy) had already published a joint declaration on January 22nd. They affirm their commitment to the Franco-German Agenda 2020 and Germany declares its support to the French G20 presidency. In schools and public institutions in France and Germany, the Franco-German Day was celebrated as well.
Next year, I promise not to miss this holiday. And I hope to celebrate it in an adequate fashion as well.
By the way, if you are a young German or French professional, you can apply for a Franco-German future dialogue organized by DGAP and IFRI. However, the deadline for applications is today, Monday January 31st.
If you are interested in a one-year postgraduate Franco-German Master of European Governance in Paris, Strasbourg, Potsdam and Berlin, you can still apply until May 15th.