Following centuries of rivalry and conflict, France and Germany sent a strong signal of post-war reconciliation and laid the foundation for close cooperation to support European integration when President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signed the Élysée Treaty on January 22, 1963. Six decades later, the six-member European Economic Community has grown to a European Union with 27 member states, East and West Germany have unified, the United Kingdom has joined (1973) and left (2020) the European club, the Soviet Union has dissolved, and Russia has invaded Ukraine. In this transformed world, the Franco-German alliance remains important, but it faces new challenges.
This weekend, President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet before the pair lead a joint cabinet meeting to mark the anniversary of the Elysée Treaty. How can the Franco-German alliance navigate the changing global order – and what lessons can be drawn 60 years after signing the treaty? Join the American Council on Germany and the French-American Foundation for a virtual discussion with Ambassador Antje Leendertse, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations, and Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations.
Ambassador Antje Leendertse has served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations in New York since September 2021. Prior to this, she was State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office starting in 2019, after serving as Political Director in the Foreign Office from 2018 to 2019. She has served as a Permanent Representative before, in her capacity as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Office of the United Nations and the other international organizations in Geneva from 2017 to 2018. Before that, she was Ambassador and Head of the Task Force for the 2016 OSCE Chairmanship from 2015 to 2017; Ambassador and Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control in the Foreign Office from 2014 to 2015; and Ambassador and Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia in the Foreign Office from 2012 to 2014. Before that, Ambassador Leendertse served as Head of Division for the Western Balkans in the Foreign Office from 2009 to 2012. She entered the Foreign Service in the seminal year of 1990. She holds a master’s degree in medieval and modern history, Romance languages, economics, and philosophy from the University of Cologne.
Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière took office as Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York on 8th July 2019. A graduate of the “Condorcet” class of the Ecole nationale d’administration (ENA), he was previously Director General of Political and Security Affairs at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (2014-2019). He also served as Assistant Secretary for the United Nations, International Organizations, Human Rights and Francophonie (2011-2014) and Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2010).
Ambassador de Rivière served in the offices of two Foreign Ministers: first, as Counselor for Economic Affairs, Asia and North America in the office of Dominique de Villepin (2002-2004), then as Counselor for International Economic issues, Asia and Americas in the office of Michel Barnier (2004-2005).
Nicolas de Rivière was conferred the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in July 2015.