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European Union/New Year greetings to the diplomatic corps

Published on January 21, 2015
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
Paris, January 16, 2015

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Ambassadors,

You have expressed your New Year greetings and wishes to me at a particularly testing and painful time. But the strength of any wish is its possibility of becoming a reality. What wish might I make then for the world? Certainly, a wish to see a return to conditions of peace. A wish for the world to live up to its own expectations – that is, its future, the climate challenge. A wish also that we might enjoy more prosperity, combat inequality and enjoy what you call human dignity. More than ever, human dignity is what must drive the actions of France and the international community.

France is a great nation that acts on its own behalf, on behalf of the world and with Europe. The European Union has now emerged from the economic crisis, but it has not yet returned to growth, growth that will reduce unemployment. That must be its priority. That is the purpose of the Juncker Plan. I have just had a meeting with the President of the European Commission, and he confirmed to me that the European Union will rapidly put in place every procedure and every arrangement to bring that plan into force.

Growth is also the objective of the European Central Bank, which has met every target on inflation, which is now virtually zero in Europe. I wish to salute its efforts. The euro has returned to an exchange rate more in line with its fundamentals, and the level of oil prices – which must not slow our efforts to save energy – is reducing the cost of living for households in France and households in Europe, as well as increasing margins for businesses.

Europe must support this trend by looking resolutely to the future, digital technology, infrastructure, the energy transition, the green economy. Europe must also shoulder more responsibility at the political level in order to settle conflicts on its borders, speak to those on the other shore of the Mediterranean and go even further in its international action, wherever much is expected of it, wherever much is hoped of it.

I wish to see agreements reached between Europe and Latin America – something on which we are working – between Europe and Asia, and also between Europe and all the components that make up the European continent; here I am also referring to events in the East, and that is why I have indicated that with regard to Russia we must find a new approach and renewed trust.

Europe must be more active internationally, and it must also be more vigilant where its own security is concerned. I have mentioned the broad lines of this in referring to the fight against terrorism. Europe must be more active on the refugee issue as well as on combating illegal immigration. Europe must revise its instruments, its methods and its ambitions. The new President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is also working along these lines, as is the President of the European Commission. (…)./.

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