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Official speeches and statements - March 22, 2016

Published on March 22, 2016

1. Belgium - Attacks - Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (Paris, 22/03/2016)

We are having a meeting of the Conseil de l’attractivité [Strategic Attractiveness Council] today, but you are fully aware of what has just happened in Brussels, where craven, heinous attacks were perpetrated, killing many people and injuring several dozen others.

I want here to express my solidarity, my friendship with the Belgian people and the Belgian authorities, who are going through an extremely difficult time, and tell the families concerned how much they are in our thoughts, so that their grief is shared.

Terrorism has struck Belgium, but it was Europe which was targeted, and this concerns the whole world. We must realize the scale and seriousness of the terrorist threat. These attacks come after others. Paris was especially targeted last year, in January and November. Other continents have been affected - I’m thinking of Africa. But we face a global threat which demands a global response.

France and Belgium are linked, linked by the horror we have once again just shared. And I guaranteed the Belgian government all essential support so that we can provide all the resources necessary.

The war against terrorism must be waged throughout Europe, with the resources that are necessary, particularly as far as intelligence is concerned. We’ll still have to ensure that the decisions are actually implemented. We must also take action internationally. That’s what France is doing in the framework of a coalition in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq. It’s what France is doing in Africa. But it’s also what each of the most concerned countries must embark on internationally.

We also have to wage this war against terrorism by showing all the necessary vigilance. That’s why, this very day, the French government has taken measures to strengthen border control mechanisms and also increase the presence of police, gendarmes and soldiers on all transport infrastructure, at airports and train stations.

This war against terrorism must be waged calmly, clear-sightedly, resolutely, because it will be long. We must devote the essential resources to it. That’s what we’ve been doing in France for several years, with legislative mechanisms, which must both be effective and respect freedoms.

Finally, we must ensure more than ever that we’re united. I’m talking about unity at European level. I could also talk about unity at global level, for countries that want to take action against terrorism. But the most essential unity is at national level. And everyone must be aware that in this period we have to come together, be cohesive and also show solidarity. Today it’s with Belgium, yesterday it was with France that countries expressed their solidarity. We’re all aware that this concerns us all. And that’s why I wanted, at the beginning of this meeting - as we discuss the investments you can make in our own country, in Europe - to be with you, but to focus on this subject too.

Because there will be no economic development, there will be no sustainable investment, unless there’s security first. And attractiveness also presupposes security. And so we must assure you that every step is being taken - here in France but more broadly in Europe, and I’m speaking on France’s behalf - so that you can assure your staff, ensure you can also invest in France in complete confidence, but above all in complete security. Thank you. (...)

2. Belgium - Attacks - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 22/03/2016)

The French President expresses his full solidarity with the Belgian people.

He is in constant contact with the Belgian authorities to lend them all the support they might need in these tragic circumstances.

The attacks in Brussels strike at the whole of Europe. This means it must take the essential measures, given the seriousness of the threat. France, which was attacked itself in January and November 2015, is playing its full part in this. It will continue to fight terrorism implacably, at both international and domestic level.

In these circumstances, the French government has decided to further step up the security operation and policing at the borders and on transport infrastructure.

The President expresses his sincere condolences to the victims’ families and close friends, and his full friendship to Belgium.

3. Belgium - Attacks - Telephone conversation between M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Mr Didier Reynders, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs - Statement by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, 22/03/2016)

After the horrific attacks which struck Belgium this morning, I telephoned my Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, to tell him how appalled France is.

This conversation allowed us to take stock of the tragic situation in Brussels, which has resulted in many people being killed and injured. At this tragic time, our thoughts go first to these casualties, their families and close friends.

I told Belgium of France’s solidarity and reaffirmed that we stand united with our Belgian friends in this terrible ordeal.

My Belgian colleague and I stressed the urgency of coordinating our action even further when it comes to fighting terrorism.

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