Franco-German city partnerships really took off in 1951, but the concept is nothing new.
The idea of twinning cities is not a new concept. The first officially documented partnership between cities dates back to the year 836, when the relics of St. Liborius were transferred from the French town of Le Mans to Paderborn, in western Germany. The close connection between the two cities continues today; since 1967, they have been formally twinned.
City partnerships are seen as a successful way of creating international understanding, particularly after World War II when it was hoped the practice could bring former foes closer together again. The goal was, and still is, to encourage cooperation between local authorities and to promote cultural and economic exchange. In partnerships between Germany and France, it's about making cooperation in daily life visible at the political level. One of the priorities is promoting encounters between young people from both countries.
Franco-German city partnerships really took off in 1951, after 50 mayors from both countries founded the Council of European Municipalities. A year earlier, Ludwigsburg and Montbeliard had previously sealed the first official partnership between a German and a French community. Both cities had already been closely connected for more than 600 years by a marriages between their two royal houses.
Today, there are more than 2,200 Franco-German partnerships between cities, departments and regions. Many of them even have additional partners in other countries in Europe and around the world.
The European Union has formally adopted its climate change targets ahead of a UN conference set for December in Paris. But debate continues on how to achieve them.
Sigmar Gabriel is about to tour the Middle East with an entourage of businessmen. Back home, new government documents have now revealed exactly how many weapons Germany has sold to Middle East nations in the past decade.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has outlined government plans for changes in deportation and rights to stay for asylum seekers in Germany. A Bavarian proposal calls for four states to be ruled as 'safe.'
The short life of the young diary writer, Anne Frank, has inspired numerous filmmakers in the 70 years since she died in a Nazi concentration camp. Now, the first German-made feature is in the works.