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Official speeches and statements - October 13, 2016

Published on October 13, 2016

1. Ukraine - Russia - Normandy format - Telephone conversation between M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, and Mr Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - October 13, 2016)

The French President spoke to President Poroshenko today.

The French President reiterated his commitment, alongside the Chancellor, to a peaceful resolution of the crisis in eastern Ukraine. More than a year after the last summit, which was held in Paris, efforts must be redoubled on implementing all the Minsk agreements, in the area of security and on the political issues.

He called for a road map to be drawn up swiftly which commits all parties and clearly sets out the stages which must lead, at the end of the process, to Ukraine regaining control of its border with Russia.

All the conditions must be created for elections in the east of the country as a matter of urgency, in the framework of Ukrainian law and with due regard for OSCE standards. It is therefore imperative for the ceasefire to be consolidated and for the disengagement operations to be continued and extended.

The French President emphasized that he was ready to participate, in the next few days, in a new Normandy-format meeting, which should provide decisive impetus with a view to resolving the crisis.

2. European Union - Migration - Libya - Statements by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at his joint press briefing with his Italian counterpart, Mr Paolo Gentiloni, and his German counterpart, Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Rome - October 12, 2016)

Thank you, Paolo, for your invitation. I’m very happy to return here, to the magnificent Villa Madama, and to be in Rome. As convinced Europeans, Rome is a source of inspiration to us. It’s true that, 60 years after the Treaty of Rome was signed, Europe is facing new challenges. But our three countries are determined to tackle them. Moreover, it was in Italy, in August, that our three countries met at the Ventotene summit and began making a whole series of proposals. We want to build on this work together and give Europeans, Europe’s most skeptical, most disillusioned people, a message of hope and confidence. Even though one country has decided through its vote to leave the European Union, that’s all the more reason for the others, for the 27, to respond practically, pragmatically, realistically, but also coherently and ambitiously to the challenges of the future, remembering that our countries, each of our nations, with their peculiarities, their specific characteristics, are stronger together when it comes to addressing the challenges of our times and the aspiration of our fellow citizens. (...)

We discussed the migration issue. We discussed the issue of migrants, particularly in relation to the situation of Italy, which is currently in the front line. We recalled the commitments made at the Valletta summit to help African countries and go on cooperating with them. Admittedly, we must speed up and gain ground on this, and Paolo Gentiloni spoke about the ambitious, concrete proposals we decided to made together.

Then there’s the issue of Libya. For us, Libya is a key country. It’s absolutely essential for the commitments made to be implemented - that is, to recognize Mr Sarraj as Prime Minister but also ensure that all Libya’s forces and Libya in all its diversity come together. That’s our goal, because we have no interest in chaos taking hold in Libya. On the contrary, we must continue our efforts to encourage Libya’s various forces to come together, encourage Libya’s various forces to deal with Libyans’ problems. And, as far as we’re concerned, do everything, of course, to continue our action in the central Mediterranean, in the European framework, i.e. EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, which also aims to curb human trafficking, drug trafficking and arms trafficking. Libyans’ security and the neighboring countries’ security depend on it. And our own security also depends on it.

We discussed the need to strengthen the European Union. It’s about borders but also about defense policy. We know this is now a priority. The Bratislava meeting of heads of state and government was a reminder of it. We must now do practical work on implementation. Proposals are on the table. We discussed our goals. We can see a lot of agreement, but today Europe must face up to new threats, and alongside NATO, Europe must be more organized on defense, and in a practical way.

More generally, Europe must respond to our fellow citizens’ expectations, namely protection, domestic security, border protection, defense policy and also the protection of workers in Europe - for example, the issue of the posting of workers - but also the protection of our interests at the international trade level, while maintaining an open Europe that invests and prepares for the future. If we implement those priorities, then it’s our strong belief that we’ll make Europe more transparent, simpler, more accessible, and we’ll regain our fellow citizens’ trust. In any case, we - the French, Italians and Germans - are convinced it’s our responsibility to work on this.