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Official speeches and statements - April 26, 2016

Published on April 26, 2016

1. Australia - France selected for ocean-going submarine programme - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 26/04/2016)

Australia’s choice of France and DCNS as partners for the construction of 12 submarines is an historic one.

It marks a decisive step forward in the strategic partnership between the two countries, which are going to cooperate for 50 years on the key element of sovereignty that submarine capability represents.

France is grateful for the confidence Australia is showing in it and proud of the technological excellence its companies have displayed in this high-level competition. This new success will create jobs and development in both France and Australia.

The President has asked the Minister of Defence to go to Australia to swiftly follow up on this industrial programme, which is exceptional in its scale and scope. He thanks Australia for the choice it has made and congratulates all those who helped bring about the decision.

2. Climate - COP21 - Paris Agreement signature ceremony - Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (New York, 22/04/2016)

United Nations Secretary-General,

Cher Ban Ki-moon,

We know what we owe you. It’s under your impetus and initiative that this whole approach, which has led us to New York today to sign the Paris Agreement, has been possible.

I’d like to pay tribute to you, ladies and gentlemen heads of state and government, for being here: it’s so important and enables us to send the signal that will put the Paris Agreement into practice.

I pay tribute to the representatives of every country, the COP President, Ségolène Royal, and also the representative of Morocco, because the conference’s next meeting will be held in Marrakesh.

The fact that so many of us are here in New York today, with such determination, is because there was an agreement in Paris. It was on 12 December last year. Nothing was on the cards. Nothing could be taken for granted. Up until the last minute, if not the last second, we had to overcome scepticism, questions and doubts, go beyond our national interests, which were also legitimate, and be able, all together, to further an ambition for mankind, for future generations.

[We had to] Be ready to commit ourselves to an agreement that could be ambitious, universal, binding, and commit us all for the coming years to reducing the rise in temperatures.

12 December 2015 was an historic day for the international community, which can be proud of it, because when Laurent Fabius, then president of the COP, signalled the consensus by banging a gavel- which will remain in people’s memory -, we all experienced a moment few of which are as moving in political leaders’ lives.

The context in Paris was dramatic, tragic, following the terrorist attacks that had struck the French capital, but in a surge of solidarity and also responsibility, the world was able to ensure an agreement could emerge from Paris and make it a symbolic act for the rest of the world.

Throughout the months preceding the Paris Agreement, significant commitments were also made by governments, but also by businesses, local authorities, citizens themselves and civil society.

That’s what was done in Paris on 12 December. Today we’re all duty-bound by this success, this hope that was kindled. We must go further, beyond the promises made, the commitments made, and ensure our words become deeds, because since 12 December the emergency has remained, and the months which have just gone by were the hottest in the past 100 years. There have been disasters again in Fiji, with a devastating cyclone; there’s been the famine that has spread in Africa; Lake Chad in Africa is still constantly shrinking and at risk of disappearing; there are islands that have been submerged. Do I have to go on, in order to justify what we did in Paris, which obliges us to go even further?

I’m also sounding the alarm about the destruction of ecosystems. Every year, 20 million hectares of forest in South-East Asia, Latin America and Africa go up in smoke. So that’s why we’re gathered today.

We’re gathered in numbers which are themselves exceptional - historic, as the United Nations Secretary-General said; never in the United Nations’ history has it been possible to bring together 170 countries to sign an agreement in one day. So now it’s more than a commitment, it will be a text irreversibly written into international law. That’s great progress.

In Paris on 12 December, we also launched a number of initiatives; they’ve been fleshed out in recent weeks. Seventy coalitions, 10,000 stakeholders involved in the Lima-Paris Action Agenda; the International Solar Alliance, the plan to develop renewable energy in Africa, the innovation mission for green technologies, the high-level coalition to set a carbon price. This must be our main commitment today: to set a carbon price to reorient investment and change both businesses’ and consumers’ choices.

Here, on this rostrum, I pledge on France’s behalf to ensure a carbon price can be set as quickly as possible - first in France, in Europe, then afterwards worldwide. That’s the precondition for us to be able to create a new economy.

What’s the next stage, after what we’re going to do today? It’s the ratification, with the goal of getting 55 states, accounting for 55% of emissions. Fifty-five states: they’re here; 55% of emissions: it must be possible to achieve them. So once again I’m launching an appeal for every country to ratify the Paris Agreement as quickly as possible.

I’ll ask the French Parliament to authorize the ratification of the Paris Agreement between now and the summer, and I’d like the European Union to set an example by the end of the year so that the agreement can enter into force as soon as possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must move more quickly, even more quickly because time is running out; we must be able to adopt low-carbon strategies; we must be able to raise the financing which was key to the Paris Agreement - $100 billion by 2020, and more if we can -, get everyone, again, to lead by example, especially the developed countries, and this is what France will do by increasing its annual climate financing from euro3 billion to euro5 billion by 2020. Similarly, we’ll be increasing our contribution to the fight against desertification in order to finance adaptation, and we’re using donations, not just loans.

Let me conclude, ladies and gentlemen, by saying that it isn’t just states which must take action: the whole world must realize what was done in Paris, what’s being continued in New York and what’s going to be ratified in your parliaments. Everyone must feel involved. So let’s bear in mind the words of David Thoreau, who reminded us that no one is responsible for doing everything, but everyone has to do something.

I trust you, for the sake of the countries you represent, to trigger this mobilization, keep hoping in the future, enable new generations to be proud of you and able to live in a world where there’s no concern about what mankind may produce.

Mankind can always produce what is best, even though it’s capable of what is worst, so today we’ve made sure that the best is possible; let’s continue to reject everything which the worst is capable of destroying - i.e. the most valuable asset, the one we’ve inherited, must cherish and must uphold beyond our own lives: mankind. Thank you.

3. Lebanon - Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Mr Tammam Salam, Prime Minister of Lebanon - excerpts (Beirut, 16/04/2016)


Today, as yesterday, France stands by Lebanon, through ties of history, certainly, through geographical proximity, definitely, and also through the bonds that have been forged, generation after generation, between French and Lebanese people. And there’s also culture and language: the language that allows culture to spread, and the culture that enables all languages to be discovered. And for decades, in spite of all the ordeals your country has been through - and there have been a number -, we French and Lebanese have ensured we’ve always been together; and whenever France has been attacked, undermined, you yourselves, the Lebanese, have been there. (...)

What is France’s responsibility to Lebanon today? First of all, to mobilize the international community. Lebanon has taken in more than 1.5 million refugees. Lebanon’s economy has been affected by what’s happening next to it: a war. Lebanon also needs to be strengthened, and it has every capability to make its development a success, with an especially effective financial system. France will mobilize the international community, and on 27 May the Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, will come to Lebanon. He’ll also convene the International Support Group for Lebanon so that we can combine all the goodwill, all the initiatives, all the donations for Lebanon.

France is also committed to Lebanon’s security, because in a way - and I repeat it for other regions of the world and above all this one - Lebanon’s security and Middle East peace mean security for France and peace in the world. So we’ll make sure - and that’s the purpose of Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s presence here - to provide immediate help to strengthen Lebanon’s military capabilities, particularly to combat terrorism but also to face any threat. In the coming days, Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart will set out what material resources can be very quickly made available to Lebanon to guarantee its security.

Lastly there’s the issue of solidarity with Lebanon on the issue of refugees. Lebanon has very bravely faced up to the influx of refugees from Syria and made an exceptional effort to take people in, in material conditions that are a credit to your country. So there too, I’ve decided France must stand alongside you. French aid to the refugees who are in Lebanon will be increased to euro50 million this year and euro100 million over the next three years. We’ll also make sure to embark on our programme of resettling refugees from Lebanon, with the support of the UNHCR, the High Commissioner for Refugees, so that we can be in line with the commitments I’ve made on France’s behalf, in Europe, for the distribution of refugees. I’ll also be in Jordan to provide this same resettlement programme.

Finally there’s culture. We also wanted this visit to signal what we share, what enables us to have influence throughout the world. Lebanon has influence as a country, but also through all the Lebanese people who live around the world, speak French and promote French culture. You were talking about the laïque [secular] (1) mission, with all these establishments, all these missions throughout the world which ensure that French can be taught and that French culture and, I should say, French-language culture - which aren’t the same thing - can be shared. And there too, I welcome the Salon du Livre [book fair] which is going to be held here in Beirut in November, one of the world’s greatest French-language fairs. We have loads of projects for cinema and the fine arts, because in Lebanon - as is often the case with peoples who have been in very great difficulty, whose very existence, whose very lives are under threat - there’s a kind of vitality, energy and creativity that also justify France standing beside you, because you’re our friends and because, more than ever, we want to be yours. (...)

(1) laïcité goes beyond the concept of secularism, embracing the strict neutrality of the state.

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