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Official speeches and statements - June 29, 2016

Published on June 29, 2016

1. European Union - British referendum - Statement to the press by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, on his arrival at the European Council (Brussels, 28/06/2016)

THE PRESIDENT - The British people have made a choice. By a comfortable majority, they chose to leave the European Union. We must draw every conclusion from this, even though I regret that choice. But I want to respect it. So the first conclusion is that we must embark as quickly as possible on the procedure for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU and then the negotiations that will follow.

So what methods can we deploy to achieve this? The first method is conviction. I don’t imagine a British government, whichever one it is, not respecting its own people’s decision.

Europe has also made it known that the UK must, as quickly as possible, deliver its notification to leave the EU, in such a way that we can organize things calmly, in the UK’s interest, no doubt, and in Europe’s interest above all.

As Europeans, we also have to draw a number of conclusions. A significant boost is necessary to protect our borders, invest more, focus on young people and organize the Euro Area more democratically, and also in such a way that it can harmonize tax and social policies.

That’s what I’m going to argue for at the European Council, and France’s position, I have no doubt of it, will be the position that will be chosen at European Union level. I began talking about it yesterday to Mrs Merkel, and Mr Renzi for Italy. I have absolute confidence in the idea that there’s no time to lose.

Because everyone is watching us today. A great many of you are here, not just Europeans, but representatives of the international press too. All eyes are on Europe; Europe must shoulder its responsibilities. It’s strong enough to act and act in its own interest.

Q. - Is this a historic day?

THE PRESIDENT - It’s a historic day because we must, here, acknowledge the fact that a country, more specifically the United Kingdom, has decided to leave the European Union. I know it’s painful. It’s particularly painful in the UK, including even for some voters who voted for the United Kingdom to leave the EU. But when a people votes, wherever it is, in democracy it’s necessary to respect the choices and respect universal suffrage.

It’s a historic day, but, at the same time, history goes on for Europe. This isn’t the end of Europe. It’s the end of the United Kingdom’s history with the European Union. But for Europe, history goes on. Many people are asking the same question: what would we do if we faced this choice? Looking at the United Kingdom’s situation today—although I’d like things to be sorted out, particularly in the discussions and negotiations which are going to get under way for the exit—people nevertheless are telling themselves that Europe, if it’s well led, well run, is a further opportunity for the peoples which make it up.

Thank you.


2. Turkey - Attack at Istanbul airport - Statement by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, 28/06/2016)

I utterly condemn the attack perpetrated this evening at Istanbul airport. This appalling and cowardly act has caused very many casualties.

France extends its condolences to the families and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.

In these tragic circumstances, we stand by Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

The French Consulate General in Istanbul has opened a crisis cell and is in close contact with the Turkish authorities and the French community. We call on our compatriots in Istanbul to follow the Turkish authorities’ advice to be cautious.


3. United Arab Emirates - Extension of the Dubai metro system - Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, 29/06/2016)

I commend the success of the Alstrom group in winning, on 28 June, the contract to extend the Dubai metro system to the 2020 World Expo site. This company had already completed the Dubai Tram project, which was inaugurated in November 2014 and is one of the most modern systems in the world.

In a highly competitive and key global market, this reflects the exceptional expertise of France’s rail industry and its commitment to ensuring the success of major international events.

This €2.6-billion contract, which is estimated to be worth more than €1 billion to Alstom, will support jobs in the group’s main sites in France; 40% of Alstom’s business is geared to exports.

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