Official speeches and statements - August 4, 2017
France deeply regrets developments in the situation in Venezuela and condemns the violence, which has worsened over recent days and again resulted in many casualties. The arrests of Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma on Tuesday 1 August sent another very negative signal in this regard. They mark a new stage in the confrontation and are unlikely to make it any easier to restore trust.
Our European partners share these concerns, which were expressed by the High Representative, Ms Mogherini. Together we call for a de-escalation, respect for human rights, the rule of law and basic freedoms. We hope the institutions will function normally again as soon as possible.
France, in consultation with its European partners and in support of the efforts being made by the countries in the region, will continue to back any mediation which would allow the resumption of a credible, sincere and serious dialogue between the government and the opposition and end the spiral of violence. Our ambassador over there remains in contact with all the parties.
Indeed, dialogue is the only possible way of pulling that country out of the crisis it is going through, of which the Venezuelan people are the first victims.
Last week the President, the Prime Minister and I took the decision to exercise the state’s pre-emptive right over the Saint-Nazaire shipyards and the company STX France.
We did so to protect the French nation’s strategic interests, protect our expertise and protect jobs at the Saint-Nazaire shipyards. We take ownership of and responsibility for the decision.
Our objective now is to build a shareholder base which guarantees the long-term future of the shipyards’ business, guarantees employment and, as you’ve said, guarantees the exceptional expertise in Saint-Nazaire, which is unique in Europe.
To this end, we’re going to consider a new shareholders’ pact. I had the opportunity to discuss this in Rome with our Italian friends yesterday, repeating to them that the company Fincantieri was welcome as part of a balanced pact on the Saint-Nazaire shipyards.
And what about the employees? Of course they’re welcome in this shareholders’ pact, because Saint-Nazaire is powerful mainly because of their expertise and skills.
Then—this is the strategic objective of the President, the Prime Minister and myself—we want to build a major European naval industry leader in the civilian field and, together with the Armed Forced Minister, who has been working on this for several months, in the military field with our Italian friends.
That is indeed the objective: in an increasingly competitive world, where shipbuilding increasingly requires expertise and competitiveness, we want to build in the naval field, with our Italian friends, the equivalent of Airbus in aerospace, so that we can have the world’s biggest champion of civilian and military shipbuilding.
M. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance, is pleased to submit Paris’s bid to host the European Banking Authority (EBA). Prompted to relocate following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the EBA would find in Paris the ideal conditions for relocating, along with its staff.
France, consistent with its commitment to an ambitious European financial oversight system, will do everything in its power to facilitate the setting-up of the EBA, which since its creation has worked to promote financial stability and the convergence of oversight practices within the European Union.
Paris has many strengths which could further the EBA’s development and influence. At the heart of a financial ecosystem of global dimensions, the capital boasts a strong banking presence at the service of a dense, dynamic business infrastructure. It has premises available which are eminently suitable to meet the EBA’s needs, and good air and rail links making it easier for it to carry out its work with all its European and international stakeholders.
Staff and their families will also benefit from the Paris region’s deep international labor market, exceptional provision of foreign language education and incomparable culture and leisure facilities.
The Minister maintains his firm belief that basing the EBA in Paris would guarantee it stability and continuity, enabling it to carry on doing its job under the best possible conditions.