The Franco-German alliance, the 'motor' of the European Union, has reasserted itself. Germany and France have introduced joint initiatives to revive the eurozone's flagging economy and create a military alliance to strengthen the union's role in international affairs. Last month, they issued a joint seven-page document presenting 10 initiatives for economic advancement, titled 'France and Germany together for more growth in Europe'. The allies plan to invest jointly in major infrastructure projects such as a high-speed train line from Paris to southwest Germany and improve telecommunications. At about the same time, Germany and France also pledged to develop an independent EU military alliance 'so that the EU can emerge as a full and equal partner on the world stage'. The defence union, which will be open to all EU members, builds on talks the two countries had with sympathisers Belgium and Luxembourg in April. Following its dispute with the United States over the Iraq war, Germany believes Europe must have its own military force so that it can pursue a foreign policy independent of its transatlantic ally, although it remains fully committed to Nato membership. Germany has played a leading role in other areas of European policy recently. It successfully pushed for reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy during the summer. It secured the decoupling of subsidies from production volumes, ensured funds are made available for rural development and subsidies are cut to those farmers who do not comply with EU environmental and safety standards. Analysts see Germany's reinvigorated partnership with France as significant, and at the heart of the EU. Where they lead, the rest of the union has generally followed. The two founding members of the EU have both pushed for greater European integration, including the introduction of the euro. Charles Grant, director of London-based think-tank, the Centre for European Reform, considers the renewed close partnership vital for stability in the enlarged EU of 25 states. 'France and Germany seem to have rekindled much of their old passion,' Mr Grant says. With the end of the close partnership between German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterand, the alliance appeared to flounder and the Germans set about forming a closer relationship with Britain. But the Iraq war ended that. Germany opposed the war and the British are participants, Mr Grant says. The result was that the French and Germans found themselves on the same side, leading the anti-war party. The two are now jointly urging the allies to hand over control of Iraq to its people as soon as possible. Mr Grant says differences remain between Germany and France, and other nations will challenge their dominance of the EU, but he believes the Franco-German alliance will remain an important driving force of the EU. 'So long as the UK remains outside the euro, and so long as its prime loyalty seems to be Atlantic rather than European, the Franco-German alliance is likely to endure,' he says. 'It will not dominate as in the days of Kohl and Mitterrand. But it will give some backbone to an increasingly complex and disparate EU.'