Official speeches and statements - June 28, 2016
1. European Union - British referendum - Priorities for stronger, intensified action - Joint statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, and Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy (Berlin, 27/06/2016)
On 23 June 2016, a majority of the British people expressed the wish to leave the European Union. France, Germany and Italy respect this decision. We regret that the United Kingdom will no longer be our partner within the European Union.
We have full confidence that the European Union is strong enough to provide the proper responses to this situation. There is no time to lose.
Today, we express our strong commitment to European unity. We are fully convinced that the European Union is vital to making our countries stronger by enabling us to act together, in conjunction with our common institutions, to guarantee our peoples’ economic and social progress and to assert Europe’s role in the world.
For nearly 60 years, the European Union has constituted a unique community of laws, freedoms, and shared values. It allows us to safeguard our European social model, which combines economic success with social protections. It enables us to preserve cultural diversity. The single market, our common policies and the euro have no equivalent anywhere else in the world. These achievements are the cornerstone of our prosperity. Together we defend our interests and free and fair trade in the world. Together we move forward with our energy policy, and together we help protect the climate at the global level. Together we contribute to stability and development worldwide and promote freedom.
We are just as strongly convinced that the European Union can keep moving forward only if it continues to enjoy the support of its citizens.
For that to happen, the European Union must respond to the concerns expressed by its people by clarifying its objectives and the way it functions. It should be stronger in championing its key priorities, when Europeans must join forces, and take a back seat when its member states are better positioned to act. It must remain under the democratic control of its citizens and must be easier to understand. It must act more swiftly, particularly to implement the programs and projects that directly benefit its citizens.
In a changing world, the European Union should preserve its essential achievements and focus on the challenges facing Europeans today, such as global migration and new threats - particularly international terrorism, which no member state can effectively face alone. It must also strengthen Europeans’ ability to respond to growing international competition while strengthening the European market’s social economy.
Consequently, we propose three essential priorities for stronger, intensified action, based on concrete objectives:
- internal and external security: Europe is facing enormous challenges. They make it necessary to strengthen its shared resources to protect its external borders and contribute to peace and stability in its neighborhood, particularly in the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East.
We will win the fight against terrorism in Europe only if we act in a united fashion. Terrorism will be defeated only if we show that we are able to rebuild a sense of community, investing in our cities and opposing social marginalization.
We will live up to our responsibilities if we expand our European defense and undertake the commitments required for our joint operations and for our military industry and capabilities. The potential for a real common foreign, security and defense policy has not yet been fully exploited.
- a strong economy and strong social cohesion: Europe must deliver on its promise to ensure prosperity for its citizens. We need greater growth in order to combat unemployment and create jobs, especially for young people, and more investment in order to ensure the strength of our economies in global competition.
The success of the European economic and social model, which combines economic strength with social protection, is dependent upon the definition of an appropriate regulatory framework; better policies for entrepreneurship and the participation of everyone in the working life; strengthened research, innovation and training, which play a key role because Europe’s wealth is primarily based on the knowledge and abilities of its citizens; development of the digital economy in Europe to provide improved services, modern industry and jobs; and full exploitation of the potential offered by energy and climate polices that protect the environment.
For the countries that share the euro, further stages will be needed in order to strengthen growth, competitiveness, employment and convergence, including in the social and fiscal spheres.
- ambitious programs for young people: Europe will succeed only if it gives its young people hope. We must strengthen European initiatives relating to training, entrepreneurship and access to jobs throughout Europe, such as the Youth Employment Initiative and the Erasmus program for students, apprentices and young professionals.
The EU represents our shared values: we are committed to peace and freedom, democracy and the rule of law, mutual respect and responsibility, tolerance and participation, justice and solidarity. It is now time to reaffirm these values.
Tomorrow we will propose to the heads of state and government and European institutions that we launch a process that will take place according to a strict timetable and a specific set of commitments, in order to respond to the challenges posed by the result of the British referendum and to formulate concrete solutions that will ensure a good future for Europeans within the EU.
A special meeting of the leaders in September will be devoted to the common challenges facing the 27 member states and to the key priorities on which they must decide. They should also agree on the concrete projects to be carried out in Europe over the next six months to ensure growth and security. The work should start immediately in order to develop the necessary initiatives. Key international figures could contribute to the discussions on the prospects for Europe in a global context.
The meetings of the European Council in October 2016 and December 2016 should assess the progress made to this end and provide the necessary guidance.
The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, on 25 March 2017, will be an important moment in terms of reaffirming Europe’s unity and our shared commitment to the European project.
2. European Union - British referendum - Euro Area - Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, and Mr Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy (Berlin, 27/06/2016)
Ladies and gentlemen, first of all I’d like to thank Angela Merkel for her welcome today. Angela and I agreed - it was at Verdun during a particularly moving ceremony—to meet again before the European Council, and we also thought it was absolutely necessary to involve Matteo Renzi in these preparations and this meeting, because we’re the European Union’s three major countries—with the United Kingdom, of course, but the United Kingdom has taken a decision. It was a referendum that had already been announced a long time ago. The EU—and we worked on this together—had tried to find the right arrangements to ensure the British people could give an affirmative answer to the question they were asked, and we got the result. So withdrawal prevailed. We deeply regret this choice, even though it was shared by 52%, which means 48% wanted to remain, particularly many young people. We regret it because the UK is a friend, an ally and—geographically and historically—in Europe. But we must respect this decision. It’s our duty to a people who have spoken, a consultation which has taken place and a debate which was particularly long and which also occupied us, too, at the level of our European meetings.
But at this time we must show not only sadness but also responsibility, because we have a responsibility: namely, to waste no time. To waste no time either in dealing appropriately with the issue of the UK’s departure or in dealing with the issue of the new impetus we must give the new 27-strong European Union.
Why [must we] waste no time? Because nothing is worse than uncertainty. Uncertainty generates often irrational political behaviors. Uncertainty also generates financial behaviors which can also be irrational. The UK is already experiencing this, and it’s painful at both political and financial level. But there mustn’t be repercussions on Europe, because Europe is solid. Europe is strong and Europe is a project that must continue, even though changes must occur and priorities must be reaffirmed.
So wasting no time means—as Angela has said—ensuring that the notification by the British occurs as quickly as possible, that there are no preliminary negotiations before this notification, and that once it’s issued it is passed on to the European institutions, so we can have this negotiation phase under Article 50. It’s better for Europe as a whole to have this procedure and for it to happen as soon as possible.
We fully understand the political situation in the UK too, and there again we must show respect, but we must also expect a certain respect from the UK for what we are, namely the European Union.
In any case, we’ll retain strong relations with the UK, and we—particularly France—have defense agreements. We also have political, economic and trade relations together, which will remain.
We mustn’t waste any time, either, in giving new impetus to concrete priorities. This doesn’t mean rebuilding Europe. Europe is built, not rebuilt; it must be constructed, it doesn’t need reconstructing; it must go on being built, but by concentrating on the essential priorities and swiftly implementing concrete measures.
Angela mentioned the four priorities; Angela, Matteo and I completely agree on those priorities, we talked about them: security, border protection, the fight against terrorism, the ability to defend ourselves together, and it’s a very important aspect for protection, [and] what Europeans expect from Europe. Second priority: growth, employment, with support from investment, and especially when it comes to the digital sector, when it comes to the challenges of the energy transition, we’ve got a lot to do and we’ve got to do a lot better than what we’ve done so far, with another priority very much linked to the previous one: young people, and we must take concrete measures in the coming months so that young people have even more confidence in Europe, particularly for exchanges, mobility, training and employment.
Finally, there’s the Euro Area; we belong to the Euro Area, we know there are countries which aren’t in the Euro Area, we respect them too, but we need to carry out fiscal and social harmonization together in the Euro Area, and this is also one of our priorities.
And then there’s still this question: how can Europe be made to function more effectively? How can we make it faster, more flexible and clearer for people? This is also part of the discussions we’ll be having in the next few weeks.
Not wasting time means that in September, we’ll have—if the European Council accepts this timetable—work which will already be presentable.
There you are; as I’ve said, what matters is clarity, speed and unity. If we’re clear and quick, I have no doubt we will be united.
The President talked to Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
At a time when 1.2 million people in the world still die every year from HIV, they talked about ways of stepping up the international community’s action to combat the major pandemics and expressed their determination to build more robust health systems, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking ahead to the Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which will be held in Montreal on 16 September 2016, the President confirmed that France would maintain its contribution at euro1.08 billion for the period 2017-2019, i.e. €360 million per year.
Bill Gates wholeheartedly welcomed this very important effort, which confirms France’s importance among the world’s leading health donors. France and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will continue and strengthen their partnership to develop innovative action in this area, particularly in Africa.
With this in mind, the President and Bill Gates call for the widespread mobilization of all donors so that the global fund’s replenishment conference is a success and enables pandemics to be eradicated by 2030.
As regards the fight against climate change, the Head of State and Bill Gates also reviewed Mission Innovation, launched during COP21. France will be fully active in the initiative through the Investment for the Future programme, the third part of which the government has just announced with an installment of €10 billion.