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Official speeches and statements - September 15, 2016

Published on September 15, 2016

1. European Union - Meeting with Mrs Angela Merkel - Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (Paris - September 15, 2016)


I’m very pleased to welcome Angela Merkel here, to Paris, on the eve of the Bratislava summit. Angela Merkel and I agreed to prepare the summit given that it’s taken on the importance we’re aware of, with the British decision to leave the European Union.

So the Chancellor and I have increased the number of meetings. First of all we got Matteo Renzi involved, and together we agreed to make Bratislava a useful summit for Europe. And we also had meetings with all the heads of state and government of the 27.

We also sought to have the best relations with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, so that together we could uphold the same priorities and set the same challenges.


I believe we must be clear-sighted about the situation Europe is experiencing. As I’ve often pointed out, it’s not just another crisis: it may be the crisis of its existence, of its very foundations, and that’s why our minds must be focused on giving Europeans a clear vision of what the future will be.

What I want, with the Chancellor, is for us to face up to the reasons that led the United Kingdom to leave the EU, and be aware of the concerns existing in Europe. This applies to the EU’s ability to protect its borders and control immigration. It’s also true given the threats we must forestall outside Europe. You’re aware of the work I’m doing with the Chancellor on Ukraine. You’re also aware of what we’re doing on Syria and Iraq, as far as France is concerned, to bring about a political solution.

In short, we’re experiencing challenges. We know what’s at stake. But we must also emphasize what Europe represents, what Europe is: namely values, an approach and considerable strengths. I’m not talking only about economic power—I remind you that Europe is the world’s leading economic power: I’m thinking about our way of life, our social model, the power of our industries, our culture, which we share and also make even richer by using our diversity.

That’s what Europe is, and it must always bring hope to the young generations, knowing how we can live together, given past history but also the goals we may set ourselves for the world’s destiny, and we showed this in particular here in Paris with the climate agreement. And I’d like Europe to ratify the Paris Agreement as quickly as possible, because we must set an example there too.


So we acknowledged that the Bratislava summit must concentrate on three major priorities. The first priority is security. We must protect Europeans and guarantee border security. We must also be mindful of security when it comes to threats from outside—the fight against terrorism. Our two—French and German—interior ministers produced a document that was later used by all the EU member countries.

And we must also protect by means of fresh impetus for Defense Europe.

New defense capabilities, and also forces that can be projected outside Europe. Let me remind you that Germany lent us its solidarity—as did all the European countries, incidentally—after the terrorist attacks, so that the burden on us could be eased when it came to our presence in one or another part of the African continent. So the first priority is to protect.


The second priority is to prepare the future. Europe must represent—in terms of new industries, what we know to be the technologies of the future, the energy transition and what we can also do in the digital sector, in space—a great project to make us stronger together and make jobs and growth the consequences of it. And here again we’ve seen, in what Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday, all the conditions enabling us to give the Juncker Plan its full role, its full power and its breadth.

The third priority is perhaps the most essential, if we want to be a continent of the future: it’s about being able to promote values, an approach and a culture, and for young people to be the first beneficiaries of this, but also the first to be affected by it. Here we’ve got a program we’ll be able to develop on mobility, exchanges, universities, research—everything which, precisely, can give European culture this vision which we must share with the rest of the world and which makes it possible to forge links between people rather than divide them.

I’ll end by saying that what we want to do today, what we want to do tomorrow in particular, in Bratislava, is to establish a Bratislava Plan, which would include an agenda, i.e. a work program, with stages and a road map. We must unite behind this idea of a Bratislava Plan, a road map, an agenda, and this is what justified our meeting today. I know it’s always difficult for Angela to spare time on the eve of a major summit, but the fact that she’s here—as I was in Berlin a few weeks ago—shows the strength and quality of our relations, as well as the friendship between France and Germany.

2. Romania - Bilateral relations - Inauguration of the Airbus Helicopters site - Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration to the press with Mr Dacian Ciolos, Prime Minister of Romania (Brasov - September 13, 2016)

Prime Minister, ministers, ladies and gentlemen, you who are responsible for this great business and who are going to build here not just a factory but helicopters that will be the pride of France and Romania.

There’s a long-established aerospace tradition here in Brasov between France and Romania, but this is a project on a whole new scale. It’s no longer about repairing, it’s about manufacturing helicopters that will be at the cutting edge of technology. It’s a French-Romanian project, it’s a European project, and here I pay tribute to our German friends, who are directly involved in the goal we have here: to supply helicopters for civilian use in particular, but also for military use.

With this Super Puma H215, we have proof that we can build cooperation which is beneficial to both countries. The jobs being created here are not to the detriment of jobs in Germany, France or other European countries. The jobs that will be created here will lead to other jobs being created in France. Furthermore, we have a relationship where staff will be trained in France and here, in order to have the qualification levels enabling the manufacturing to be as successful as possible.

So it’s a project with a European dimension, because it’s also intended to consolidate the European defense industry; that’s what we want to do, and it’s what I’ll have to propose in a few days’ time at the summit of the 27 in Bratislava, because we must have cooperation on defense materiel that can put Europe in a position to carry forward a European defense policy. It is of course a considerable project, with euro50 million of investment, the Romanian state has played its part in it, and this project has very great potential in terms of sales, because we’re now going to ensure we put this helicopter on the market. It’s certain that if Romania began by purchasing the helicopter we’d be very happy and very proud, and at the same time it’s an aerospace tradition. The helicopter would then have a Romanian name, because that’s how we conceive the project.

We also wanted a lot of French businesses to join the aerospace industry we’re currently building at European level, and I’m sure the Brasov factory will perfectly execute the future contracts it will be provided with.

Finally, I want to say that cooperation between France and Romania is of course based on culture, language and a shared destiny uniting our two peoples. But we are, as we can see, looking at a project which demonstrates that we—France and Romania—intend to build our relationship and our partnership on the future and on excellence.

So long live the Super Puma H215, long live Airbus, long live France and long live Romania!

3. Energy policy - United Kingdom - Launch of EPR project at Hinkley Point - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (Paris - September 15, 2016)

The Minister of the Economy and Finance and the Minister of State for Industry welcome the British government’s agreement to launch the project to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point in the United Kingdom.

This confirmation is a major step in Franco-British industrial and energy cooperation.

This British decision is good news for the French nuclear industry. It is in line with its overhaul, begun by the government and aimed at adapting it to the new market situation and particularly to the requirements of increased nuclear safety and the challenges of the fight against climate change.

The project will help maintain our industry’s skills with a view to updating the French nuclear fleet and increasing the use of renewable energies in our country. It will be a strong unifier for all manufacturers in the industry. It will be a major benchmark worldwide.

It is an undeniable success for French industry and its place in the world, and makes an important contribution to supporting jobs in France.

4. European Union - Brexit - Meeting of the Eurogroup and informal Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) in Bratislava - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (Paris - September 12, 2016)

M. Michel Sapin took part in the Eurogroup and the informal Ecofin in Bratislava, Slovakia, on 9 and 10 September. The discussions focused on the aid program for Greece and the necessary revitalization of the European project, in the context of preparations for Brexit.

The Eurogroup provided an opportunity to review progress in the aid program for Greece and in discussions on the restructuring of its debt. The implementation of reforms and preliminary measures for a new disbursement were discussed.

On the Greek debt restructuring, the ministers recalled the agreement decided at the Eurogroup of 24 and 25 May endorsing the principle of implementing measures in the short, medium and long term. The first measures will be implemented between now and the end of the program in mid-2018.

Moreover, building on an initial discussion during the Eurogroup in February, the ministers adopted a declaration setting out common principles for improving the quality of public spending reviews.

During the informal Ecofin, the ministers had a strategic discussion about the political, economic and security challenges posed to the European Union and how to respond, particularly with a view to revitalizing the European project in the context of preparations for Brexit.

On Friday afternoon, the ministers discussed the appropriateness and possible practicalities of a budgetary capability for the Euro Area. The informal Ecofin session on Saturday morning focused on the challenges of the investment plan and the fiscal priorities. The ministers exchanged views about the challenges of the fight against tax optimization and avoidance (BEPS [Base Erosion and Profit Shifting]) and the review of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

Building on the message from the Commission in June, the ministers drew up an initial assessment of the results of the European Investment Plan (EFSI [European Fund for Strategic Investments])—euro115 billion of investment generated for more than 250 projects—with a view to continuing and broadening the EFSI.

5. Council of Ministers’ meeting - French bid for World Expo 2025 (Paris - September 14, 2016)

The Prime Minister made a statement on France’s bid for World Expo 2025.

1 - France was a major player in the development of the universal exhibitions in the second half of the 19th century. It organized five, which leveraged its influence worldwide. Eighty years after hosting a universal exhibition in Paris, France must rediscover this vocation of hosting the world.

The World Expo 2025 bid will be for the whole of France. It will draw on the government’s efforts to promote Greater Paris. The capital’s region will have a modernized transport network in 2025, with the Greater Paris Express coming into service, among other things.

2 - The bid was initiated more than two years ago by the Association ExpoFrance 2025, led by the Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The President expressed his support for the initiative back in November 2014.

3 - Universal exhibitions are regulated by the Bureau international des expositions (BIE), whose 170 member states designate the host country. So only the state can apply to organize universal exhibitions. This is why Pascal Lamy was appointed interministerial delegate back in May 2015.

4 - Significant work has been done to create conditions favourable to the confirmation of France’s bid. All the local authorities—the City of Paris, the Ile-de-France region and the Greater Paris Metropolis met on 8 September and confirmed their unanimous support for the principle of the bid.

A Public Interest Grouping (GIP) bringing together the government and all the stakeholders will be set up, to enable the government to play its full role as sponsor of the bid while guaranteeing local stakeholders and businesses a role in managing the project.

5 - As the BIE must take its decision in the autumn of 2017, the GIP will have to be put in place quickly and make progress on several points in the coming months:

  • defining a galvanizing theme;
  • choosing a site for the exhibition and a layout consistent with the exhibition’s blueprint. The government will be mindful of the choice of the site, which will have to help promote the development of Ile-de-France as a whole and include the plans of other major cities;
  • examining the economic model chosen in further detail.

A letter of intent from France could be presented in the very next few weeks to confirm the bid process. The World Expo 2025 bid, in synergy with the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, must allow France to carry a universal message. It will provide leverage for innovation and growth.

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