In October 2007, Ms. Claire Marienfeld-Czesla, president of the Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik Wehr-und eV (GfW) and Mr Jaques Sonnet, chairman of CiDAN have signed at Bad Godesberg near Bonn in Germany a bilateral agreement on deepening cooperation between the two associations and the "Common Charter" for the promotion of European Defence and Security Awareness in public opinion of both countries. In this enlarging Europe it is a continuing need to struggle against prejudices that exist on European armed forces and encourage a mutual understanding of national specifities.
The two parties are in agreement on the fact that such an awareness can only be strengthened through the multiplication of direct meetings between citizens and common experiences.
For these reasons, the CiDAN association was naturally ready to meet the Waldeck-Frankenberg section of the GfW without any hesitation to support its project "to have an insight view of the French armed forces." So, the "Charter" was animated and the spirit of cooperation embodied for normal members at the basis through the arrangement of visits and presentations to units and headquarters located in Alsace.
The echo of participants reassures the organizers in their conviction that Europe needs to be lived, to recall the real rapprochement in the minds of citizens and to internalize confidence in their hearts for a common future in security . To achieve this, you will not find more suitable environment than the Alsace with its painful Franco-German history and its "European metropolis" Strasbourg.
Here are some excerpts of the minutes of the trip, compiled by Manfred Weider, deputy of the section Waldeck-Frankenberg and organizer of the trip:
"The bus started on Saturday, July 19, and the first stop led us to one of the most important fortifications of the Maginot Line.
"After it’s completion in 1936, the Schoenenbourg Fortification was deemed to be vigorously invincible. Defending Alsace in the north, this fortification is one who has most fought during World War II. From September 1939 to June 1940 he fired a total of 17,200 shells and he received more than 3,000 bombs of the Luftwaffe. The defenders leaved only on 1 July 1940, six days after the armistice and only on the orders of french high command. Yet fully equipped with all its original weapon systems, the visit takes place at 30m underground in a very specific atmosphere.
The Sunday was reserved for a guided tour of the city of Strasbourg and of the wine route from Strasbourg to Riquewihr, about 60 miles south.
On Monday morning, our group left for the first visit to French forces. The 54th Regiment of Communications, stationned at Haguenau and closely linked to the 932nd electronic warfare Battalion of Frankenberg by a "jumelage", after a briefing on his organization and its mission, presented the different courses and a sample of its vehicles and equipment. In the afternoon, the artillery brigade stationed in the same area of Haguenau demonstrated a missile launcher, a radar gun and a self propelled gun.
Tuesday began with a visit to the headquarters of the European Corps in Strasbourg. The "Public Relations" officer of the "EUROCORPS" not only explained us its structure, its mission and leadership training programs, but also the experiences collected during its operational engagements.
The EUROCORPS was created on the initiative of Federal Chancellor H. Kohl and President F. Mitterrand. Originally formed by major French and German units, the Corps now has five "framework"nations: In addition to Germany and France, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg. Other European nations may participate in the case of engagement. The Corps is available to the European Union, but it can also be engaged under the control of NATO and the United Nations. It has proven its operationality in the Balkans as part of SFOR (Stabilization Force) and KFOR (Kosovo Force) and in Afghanistan with ISAF (International Security Assistance Force).
In the afternoon, our group was welcomed at the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment in Illkirch. During a dynamic présenation, the quick intervention company assemled a bridge of 60m and the infrastructure company demonstrated its ability to perform all work necessary for construction, repair and supply houses (for example, masonry , electricity, water installation and so on.). Its sections are also capable of supplying hugh CPs (command posts) with water, sanitary and electrics. A little exercise demonstrated the capacity for mine action.
Back to Frankenberg, participants felicitated the Frankenberg section leaders of the GfW and especially Manfred Weider as the organizer, for the perfect organization and excellent program of this excursion. But they did not forget either to thank the French authorities for their commitment and the frankness with which they gave so very interesting impressions of life in visited units. Everyone agreed that such experiences can not be acquired but by learning on the spot: have a look, touch and ask questions.
Once again -if it were needed - it was made clear that it is mainly direct encounters with people who are behind things, that helps to make its own opinion and to correct prejudices.
Reassured by this positive assessment, the section of the Frankenberg GfW will continue to offer such study tours. "