A hundred years ago, the bugles called on the front and the bells rang in the rear to announce the armistice. The European youth had paid the highest price in its history. Of the 9 million dead and more than 6 million injured, most were under 35 year-old. Let us salute those who understood early that only the friendship between our two peoples, based on a common organisation of States, would bring lasting peace to the European continent. The 1925 Locarno Treaties, under the leadership of Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand, were an almost unique attempt to allow French-German reconciliation, before the rise of nationalist dictatorships. It was not until the end of the Second World War, the creation of the European community and the signing of the Elysée Treaty in 1963 that the German and French youths finally recognised themselves as brothers.

A hundred years after the end of the First World War, our generation bears an immense responsibility. Knowing the value of the union between our two peoples, we will do everything we can to strengthen it instead of letting it weaken. As a tribute to the young Europeans who died on the battlefield, we commit ourselves to keep fighting so that the friendship between our two nations will never be extinguished.

This op-ed was co-signed by our French and German members – Jeunes Démocrates and Junge Freie Wähler.

 

Picture: VISITFLANDERS