President François Hollande wanted to come to Berlin to meet the Chancellor on the day of his investiture in Paris. These meetings, on the very first days of the new government, testify to the importance we attach to the relationship with our German partner. This relationship is important for consolidating the European Union at a time when it’s facing a major crisis, and I want to reiterate here – following the meetings I had with Michael Link yesterday evening – the importance we attach to strengthening our relationship, which we’d like to be balanced between our two countries, and respectful, and we also want it to be respectful of our other EU partners.
As I take up my post in Paris, we have to prepare together the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, which is a milestone in our relations and will enable us to envisage new and promising cooperation over the next 50 years. For this 50th anniversary, we have a busy schedule, meetings planned and a determination to show our commitment to what we’ve already done and plan for what we have yet to do together in future.
I’d like to say a few more words on the economic and financial situation in the European Union and recall what President Hollande said during his visit last Tuesday: on the one hand, that we’re aware of the gravity of the situation and the need to overcome it, aware that our two countries have a special role in achieving that aim and, finally, determined to ensure that, in addition to the necessary budgetary discipline, strong initiatives are taken that make it possible to put the EU onto the path of growth. And from this viewpoint, the decision taken together by President Hollande and the Chancellor to tackle the subject of growth without taboos, agreeing to put all the issues on the table, is a good sign for the talks that will take place in the coming weeks to find helpful solutions to overcome the crisis. (…)./.