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Official speeches and statements - November 16, 2016

Published on November 16, 2016

1. European Union - Space policy - Ceremony to lay the first stone of the Ariane 6 factory - Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic - excerpts (Les Mureaux - November 14, 2016)


Ariane is the world’s most reliable launcher, with 74 successful launches in a row. I know what that can mean. Every time, there’s a twinge, a risk. Will it work? It always works, thanks to you. But there’s always the element of chance which we must, which you must overcome. But be proud, because it’s a very great technological feat and a great commercial success.

So this partnership, this success obliges us to move forward. Space Europe has decided to invest in launchers, with the promise by ASL [Airbus Safran Launchers] to halve the cost of a launcher between Ariane 5 and Ariane 6. We must do better, more cheaply. How do we achieve that? With an effort of research and investment, and an ability to control the process at every stage. Why must we do it? Because today the space industry too is subject to competition, and particularly competition from America, which would like, through the process we’re aware of—which we’re not going to describe here—to gain an advantage over us. So we have a duty to be the best, while accepting competition. That’s the whole purpose of the company ASL, because that’s what we wanted to do by pooling all our talent, all our experience.

There also had to be a budgetary effort by France, by Germany—which have accomplished it—and also by all our partners. It’s not always easy in negotiations, right up to the last minute; there were a few arguments, but we achieved it. The decision didn’t necessarily get the widest media coverage. The biggest decisions often go unnoticed, except when people see their effects. But this decision by the European Space Agency, the European partners, France and Germany, will mean we can launch Ariane 6 in barely 1,500 days from now.

In total, Ariane 6 will mean euro1 billion in investments and employment for 8,000 ASL employees and 1,000 on the Les Mureaux site. This in itself is one of the justifications for my being here: to pay tribute to the feats you’ve accomplished and the efforts you’ve made, and above all encourage you to move forward, given what’s at stake.

I also wanted to come and show what Europe is. We sometimes know what it isn’t or what it no longer is, what it’s lacking (lack of initiatives, lack of will) when it comes to pursuing an economic or social goal. There’s even one country which has left Europe. We’re also seeing how much people depend on Europe to protect our borders and guarantee our security, especially in the context we’re experiencing, where we have to rely on ourselves.

We can also see what Europe enables Europeans to do and offers them: pride and ambition. Space Europe is part of what the European dream can still—always—nurture. First of all because it’s about having the autonomy to go into space, and that’s the purpose of the European Space Agency. Secondly, why do people want that autonomy? Because it’s also a guarantee of having an independent source of information. By observing the Earth, we ourselves can prevent the planet from being affected by [global] warming, or at any rate monitor the commitments that have been made, until tomorrow in Marrakesh, to move forward with the Paris Agreement. Observation is essential in order to know where there are risks, where there are threats. And also for our own security: the military observation we can ensure thanks to our satellites, particularly with Germany and Italy.

There’s also control of communications: that’s also a considerable challenge in terms of independence. The Galileo satellites will enable us, in a few weeks’ time, to get even more accurate locations than GPS. We can be the best in this field too. You can also see what a vital objective this can be, including when it comes to combating certain threats.

Europe also has the capability to explore space and have scientific programs. People remember the Philae probe, which landed on the comet. They also remember ExoMars, even though we didn’t manage to complete it. But we’ve already gathered very important data, collected by the probe. (...)

2. Climate - Joint statement by Australia and France - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs (Paris - November 15, 2016)

Protecting the World’s Coral Reefs

Australia and France share a strong commitment to preserving the world’s coral reefs.

The world’s coral reefs are under growing pressure from the cumulative impacts of factors such as rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidity caused by climate change, overfishing, pollutants and sediments coming from land, and increased sea traffic.

Coral reef ecosystems are some of the most beautiful and biodiverse on our planet. Healthy reefs provide a source of livelihood for many communities and are of pivotal importance to world food security.

Managing our reefs is a local endeavor, but sharing our expertise and cooperating on best practice globally offers the best prospect of the world’s coral reefs responding and recovering from threats and challenges.

Coral reefs are also vital early warning systems for the changes affecting our oceans caused by climate change. Building upon the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, continued joint action by all to address climate change is crucial.

More than two decades ago Australia and France with six other nations founded the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to improve sustainable management of coral reefs.

The members of ICRI have developed a Plan of Action to strengthen international action and cooperation on best practice in reef management.

Under the plan, ICRI will increase its focus on climate change, including the role coral reefs and related ecosystems can play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It will help address human threats to ecosystems, such as those from plastic microbeads, and better monitor the state of the world’s coral reefs. ICRI will also promote public awareness of the importance of coral reefs, including making 2018 the third International Year of the Reef.

This is a powerful commitment, backed by the best expertise the world has to offer. Australia and France will continue to work together, and with ministers of other ICRI countries, to advance global coral reef preservation efforts and secure the future of these ecosystems.

(Source of English text: Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs)

3. Climate - Opening of the Global Climate Action Agenda’s Oceans Action Day - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs (Paris - November 12, 2016)

At the inaugural session of the Global Climate Action Day devoted to oceans, in the presence of Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco and Prince Albert II of Monaco, Ségolène Royal recalled the progress made by COP21: the ocean was included in the preamble to the Paris Agreement; for the first time in a COP, an Ocean Action Agenda was launched.

The COP21 President welcomed the progress made since, with the launch of a special IPCC report on oceans, and discussions at the IMO (International Maritime Organization) on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of international maritime transport, with the launch of new initiatives promoted by all stakeholders.

Ségolène Royal recalled France’s ambitious targets regarding marine protected areas and the conservation of coral reefs and mangroves. The rate of coverage of [France’s] territorial waters by marine protected areas will exceed 21% in 2017, when the global target is 10% by 2020.

The COP21 President announced:

  • the publication of the decree to extend the French Southern Lands national nature reserve, creating the fourth-largest marine reserve in the world;
  • the creation of the marine protected area around Clipperton atoll at the National Council for Nature Protection on 4 November;
  • the launch of an action plan as part of the International Coral Reef Initiative, which France is co-chairing with Madagascar;
  • the preparation of a project backed by the Global Environment Fund to support the project on coastal risk in West Africa [the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program] alongside the World Bank and the countries of the region.

Moreover, Ségolène Royal emphasized the fundamental role each party had to play in protecting the ocean—governments of course, but also those involved in the maritime economy, local authorities, scientists, NGOs and all citizens.

She urges national and local governments also to make active efforts to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean by joining the plastic bag coalition she initiated with Monaco and Morocco’s support.

4. China - Fourth France-China High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue - G20 - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (Paris - November 14, 2016)

At Bercy [Economy and Finance Ministry] on 14 November, M. Michel Sapin, Minister of the Economy and Finance, accompanied by M. Christophe Sirugue, Minister of State for Industry, and Mr Ma Kai, Vice-Premier of China, co-chaired the fourth France-China High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue, which has become a special forum for the Franco-Chinese bilateral relationship.

The first one took place in Beijing on 26 November 2013. This dialogue was established as a result of Presidents Xi Jinping and François Hollande asserting their wish to give fresh impetus to Franco-Chinese relations.

The fourth session of this dialogue provided an opportunity to exchange views on the results of China’s G20 presidency, particularly regarding France’s priorities such as the fight against financing terrorism, the fight against tax avoidance and the promotion of climate change-resilient growth, in the momentum created by the Paris Agreement.

This session also provided an opportunity to assess bilateral commercial and industrial relations and map out ways forward for them. As such, Michel Sapin reiterated the importance for France of our relations being guided by a principle of reciprocity and mutual benefits. The progress made by France-China partnerships in third markets—a totally new initiative which testifies to the great level of trust between our two countries at the highest level of the state—was specifically highlighted. Michel Sapin and Christophe Sirugue welcome the signature of two agreements which set the seal on the initiative’s operational development: the agreement linking CDC International Capital to the CIC sovereign fund for the creation of a mechanism for co-investing in third countries, and the agreement setting up the steering committee for France-China partnerships in third countries. The steering committee will spearhead our partnerships and monitor their progress.

Furthermore, this dialogue allowed notable headway to be made on the conditions governing the involvement of Chinese companies in the overhaul of the French nuclear industry, in order to build a new financial and industrial partnership in the nuclear sector which is balanced and respects the interests of the two countries.

Finally, this exchange [of views] highlighted the strengths of the Paris financial center in the internationalization of China’s currency, the renminbi, and as regards green finance.

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