Official speeches and statements - July 25, 2016
1. Germany - Munich attack - Telephone conversation between M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 23/07/2016)
The French President and Chancellor Merkel spoke about the Munich killings.
The President reiterated France’s support for and solidarity with Germany.
They talked about the nature of the vile acts which have taken place in recent days in our two countries, and agreed on the need to cooperate even more closely to face up to those who seek to divide peoples and create a climate of fear among the population.
2. Ireland - Bilateral relations - European Union - Fight against terrorism - Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Ireland - excerpts (Dublin, 21/07/2016)
ATTACK IN NICE/IRISH RESPONSE
Prime Minister, cher Enda, thank you for the welcome, first of all. It’s a long time since a French President has come here to Ireland.
Thank you for the words you spoke in French to express your sorrow, your grief, your solidarity regarding a tragedy, a tragedy that occurred in France, in Nice, and affected many nationalities - no fewer than 25 among the victims, dead and injured. It goes to show that while terrorism wanted to strike France because France is a country of freedom, it also struck the world, because terrorism makes no distinction between faiths, creeds and nationalities. That’s why we must all be united against terrorism. And when France was hit last November, as it had been in January 2015, I turned to my European partners. I asked them to support France in a number of operations to relieve the pressure on us and enable our territory to be even more strongly protected.
Ireland responded positively despite its status as a neutral country, despite the fact that Ireland isn’t a NATO member; as a fully-fledged member of the European Union, Ireland wanted to show solidarity with France, and I’ll never forget that; likewise, you haven’t forgotten what a French general did, and you often remind me of it.
We, Ireland and France, are in fact linked by culture, history and even language, because many young Irish people learn French today and because we in France host many students from Ireland under the Erasmus program. Now Ireland also wants to be an observer member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie [international Francophone organization], and we’ll be very happy to welcome it.
What’s just happened obliges us again to draw closer in terms of cooperation and defense; I talked to the Irish Prime Minister about this. It will be one of the elements of the impetus I want to give the European Union, particularly following Brexit. We must set ourselves clear goals that people can understand. Defense, protection and security, including of our borders, are what European people expect, not to shut themselves off but, on the contrary, to be capable of opening up under secure conditions.
The other impetus we want to provide is to put investment, growth and employment at the heart of our policies. Ireland suffered greatly for a whole period; very brave decisions were needed, which were taken by the Irish government, to emerge from what was called the Program—more quickly than was planned, incidentally—and put Ireland back on the path of growth, which is now almost a motorway. And so there’s everything we must do together to intensify and broaden investment efforts, particularly as regards young people. A lot of young Irish people are heading off all over the world, a lot of young French people are also coming here to invest or create in Ireland, and it’s those young people we must support; we must give them hope, and that hope lies in Europe.
Finally, because we’re members of the Euro Area, we have to ensure the governance of the Euro Area and make it more democratic; that’s what we’ll be discussing in Bratislava.
I’ve come to Ireland after Brexit, but there are no longer questions to be asked, only answers to give. The answer is that we must embark as soon as possible on negotiation with the United Kingdom to decide on the framework of the future relationship between the UK and Europe. It will no longer be in the European Union, but it will still be in Europe.
This evening I’ll be having a meeting with Mrs Theresa May, the British Prime Minister—who in the end was appointed earlier than was initially planned, when we spoke following the British referendum—and I’ll tell her again what I’ve already told her and am recalling here: namely, that the negotiations must begin quickly, i.e. enable the negotiations to be productive, and that there can be no discussions preceding the negotiations. From this point of view, Mrs Merkel and I share the same approach: we must begin the negotiations—the sooner the better—under conditions that must be established, so that decisions can then be made in everyone’s interest.
BREXIT/GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT
I’m also conscious of the consequences Brexit may have on Ireland as well. We talked about this because Ireland, like France, is the United Kingdom’s neighbor, but an even closer neighbor than France. We’ve got the English Channel [between us], even though we’ve got a train. But you, you of course have a land border, and this is why you’re so committed to the Good Friday Agreement being safeguarded. And France understands and shares this position, because it’s very important for peace.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT/RTE-EIRGRID MoU
We also need to ensure the principles of free movement can be safeguarded. Anyway, the United Kingdom can’t have access to the internal market if the principles of free movement aren’t guaranteed and respected.
We, Ireland and France, also want to draw closer together, which was also the aim of the agreement we concluded between our two companies, RTE and its Irish counterpart EirGrid. Why? Because we want there to be major infrastructure networks, we want to be able to move things around on them - in this case electricity - as much as possible, but also full use must be made of all transport routes to bring our two countries even closer together.
I want to end on what is also our, Ireland and France’s ambition. We each have a history, and this history is one of freedom, independence and sovereignty. These words have meaning and significance here: freedom, independence, sovereignty.
But we don’t see these values, these principles, which are so dear to our two peoples, as a means of closing ourselves off, cutting ourselves off, but, on the contrary, as an ability to exert influence in the world.
Ireland exerts its influence through all its generations who have gone out into the world, precisely to carry this message of freedom. France has done this too, which is why there’s always been this very special bond between France and Ireland, and I want to intensify it further with this visit.
I’ll return again to Ireland because I haven’t been able to do the whole of the scheduled trip, due to the tragedy on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. But I wanted to hear what the Prime Minister, what the Irish people said and I’ll pass this on to the French people. Thank you. (...)
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wanted to have a discussion with Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Europe, since we have an important meeting, the Bratislava summit, then another, which is of course to decide on the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
On these two subjects, we completely agree. The negotiation with the United Kingdom must be started soon, so that uncertainty is reduced as much as possible and Europe itself can define its relationship with the United Kingdom, which is a friend, and also among the 27 in order to provide fresh impetus.
At the Bratislava summit, we’ll have the opportunity to talk in detail about what the European enterprise could be, particularly when it comes to the security and protection dimension, but also investment, employment, young people and, finally, strengthening the Euro Area.
Since I’m talking about the Euro Area, there’s the issue of Portugal, a country which has made huge efforts and agreed to make many sacrifices to comply with the rules. France wants the European Commission to take its decision very soon, because we can’t ask Portugal to do more than it has already, and it’s very important for Portugal itself to be able to show that the commitments for 2016 and 2017 will be honored. The sooner the decisions are taken, the more straightforward they will be—i.e. without imposing a penalty on a country which has worked, worked not only to restore its accounts to a sound footing and improve its competitiveness, but also to ensure Euro Area cohesion.
That’s also what I came to tell Portugal, because we need both common rules—we belong to the same group, the Euro Area - but also solidarity and hope. People can’t live merely with procedures, they must live with projects. The European project can’t be reduced to mere rules or disciplines. They’re necessary, but they can’t in themselves constitute the project for Europe as we see it.
France and Portugal are two great European countries. I remember—I was very young at the time—that after the fall of the dictatorship, Portugal was asking to join Europe. François Mitterrand, the then French President, was clear-sighted enough to welcome Spain and Portugal. I subscribe to that history; Portugal is a European country that has contributed a great deal to Europe, and Europe must stand alongside Portugal, just as Portugal today stands alongside France after the ordeal it’s going through. Thank you.
The French President hosted a meeting with Mr John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand. A hundred years after the Battle of the Somme, he paid tribute to the memory of the thousands of New Zealand soldiers who died for Europe’s freedom during the First World War. He welcomed the participation of New Zealand troops in the 14 July parade alongside Australian and French troops.
With our two countries celebrating the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, and with New Zealand being a member of the United Nations Security Council, the Head of State noted France and New Zealand’s similar views on international crises and welcomed our countries’ shared commitment to the fight against Islamist terrorism, particularly against Daesh [so-called ISIL] in Iraq.
He expressed his desire to continue developing bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of trade, investment and defense cooperation. He also spoke of the growing integration of French territorial units in the Pacific into their regional environment and the need to step up cooperation in the fight against natural disasters and climate change, in the framework of the Paris Agreement’s implementation.
Finally, the President expressed his hope that Brexit will have no consequences on closer ties between New Zealand and the European Union, particularly at economic and commercial level.
France condemns the attack committed in Kabul today, which killed and injured very many people.
We extend our condolences to the victims’ families and wish the injured a speedy recovery.
France stands alongside the Afghan people and authorities in this ordeal. It supports Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism.