Official speeches and statements - July 26, 2019
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Madam President, I’m very pleased, very pleased today to welcome to Paris the new President of Slovakia, chère Zuzana, and I especially want to congratulate you on your election, but also because during the campaign you promoted an ambitious, progressive vision, a resolutely pro-European program in your country, committing yourself on climate issues, on protecting the environment, on upholding the rule of law and fighting corruption, by anchoring Slovakia very firmly in Europe. By choosing you, Slovakian voters repeated in the clearest way that they wanted their country to be at the heart of Europe and the European Union; they also said that the rift between those who promote an ambitious plan for Europe - socially and in terms of the climate and defending our democracy - and those who succumb to the temptation of self-absorption, that rift in no way reflects a division between East and West, between old and new member states.
The desire for Europe is taking root everywhere; we simply need leaders to promote it, to uphold its values and that ambition, and that’s what you’ve done in your country. Like you, I believe in a strong Europe united around its values, and you symbolize it. That’s why together we must assert our ambition for Europe, and France and Slovakia have chosen this ambition through our practical cooperation on deepening the Euro Area, on taxing the digital sector, on defense, and on the climate by declaring [the goal of] carbon neutrality by 2050. Slovakia took a strong and courageous position on this issue at the European Council in June, joining an initiative which we launched with the Netherlands and which was soon joined by eight other member states. (...)
This ambition is also the one expressed by the President-elect of the European Commission, with whom I had a meeting yesterday and whose program for the coming five years I fully support - in terms of the climate, with the European Green Deal that will be presented in the first 100 days, carbon neutrality by 2050, a carbon tax on the borders and the creation of a European climate bank; in terms of social and tax justice, with a minimum wage, the resumption of work on taxing the digital sector and strengthening the Euro Area, with the proposed setting-up of a European unemployment insurance system; for an updated trade policy to ensure our trading partners respect our rules, our standards; in terms of the rule of law and democracy, with the launch of a conference on Europe’s future, to fully involve civil society and citizens in discussions essential to Europe’s future; and for a Defense Europe that can protect its citizens through more commitments. On all these issues I think I can say, Madam President, that we see completely eye to eye and that together we’ll commit ourselves to ensuring Europe measures up to its destiny. (...)
2. European Union - Statement to the press by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission - Remarks by Mr. Macron (Paris - July 23, 2019)
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THE PRESIDENT - Well, good afternoon everyone. I’m very pleased today to welcome Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, Madam President, a few days after the European Parliament vote. Thank you taking time out from Brussels to come here following the latest Council of Ministers’ meeting in Berlin, and for this first visit to an EU country. I’m extremely touched, touched and pleased, because I think the choice the European Council made a few weeks ago, confirmed by the European Parliament vote, allows us to begin a new chapter of our history, which you’re going to take forward and which you symbolize. This new chapter is that of an ambition which our fellow citizens also backed by voting in May, which you powerfully promoted in the speech you delivered to the European Parliament and which will form the basis of your project - one which, I have to say, I and France fully identify with.
Firstly, a strong climate ambition, as you said, with the green pact, the environmental pact, the climate bank, carbon neutrality by 2050, the setting of a minimum CO2 price, a border tax and so a genuine climate ambition reflected by a very strong, new environment agenda of our Europe. Secondly, a Europe of social progress, i.e. convergence once again. As we know, we’ve got 28 different models - 27 tomorrow - and [there’s] a need, despite everything, to bring this all together again and have the same requirements, to move towards coordinating minimum wages, which everyone would set in line with their rules but which would allow us to have genuine social convergence and allow our middle classes to progress again after the crisis we experienced 10 years ago.
Thirdly, a Europe which protects and can resolve the migration issue, a significant challenge; [a Europe] which can protect its borders, which can protect itself too through a genuine defense ambition, which you did so much to promote in your previous post. I think that, here too, our agenda, which we discussed a few days ago, on the occasion of 14 July, with the European Intervention Initiative leaders, is extremely important, and you cogently repeated this during your speech to the European Parliament. We’re also talking about a Europe of values, a Europe which defends the rule of law, freedom of the press and all the values which form our bedrock at the Council of Europe and the European Union, and which have sometimes been a subject of tension, but one on which we must be extremely vigilant and powerfully stick to our ambitions and principles; you reiterated this, and I think it’s extremely important.
We’re also talking about a Europe which can respond to the challenges of the future, such as digital technology and artificial intelligence, and which is going to have to invest, come up with new rules, succeed in building a genuine market of 28 - 27 tomorrow - and therefore also face up to this challenge and embrace its ambition and future.
I have to say that France fully identifies with all the issues you mentioned in your speech: a more united, more sovereign, more democratic Europe, which promotes this ambition of the future and which will also have to think, as part of the citizens’ democratic conventions, about the changes which are absolutely essential for the future. And you also symbolize this new Europe; and in my view, 40 years on from the first female president of the European Parliament, Simone Veil, having the first female president of the European Commission, and the fact it is you, is I think also not just symbolic but the embodiment of a new face, a new ambition, a Europe which also wants to regenerate itself. And so for all these reasons, we’ll be at your side in support of this agenda and as part of this new phase, and thank you so much for being here this lunchtime. We’re now going to begin working together.
Q. - (inaudible), a reaction to Boris Johnson’s appointment as Prime Minister; is this good or bad news for the European Union?
I’d just like to say a few words to thank Theresa May for the good work we’ve done together all these past years. She took office at a difficult time following the referendum, and she’s worked with us all these years with great courage and dignity. She’s never obstructed the workings of the European Union, and she’s tried to serve British interests as well as possible, with extreme loyalty to what the British people expressed. I want to pay tribute to her here.
British democracy is functioning, and in particular the life of the Conservative Party, and so I congratulate Boris Johnson on this result. I’ll call him as soon as he’s officially Prime Minister - because a procedure is now going to be triggered - and I’m very keen to work with him as soon as possible, not only on our European issues and the continuation of the Brexit negotiations, of course, but also on the international issues that concern us daily and on which we coordinate closely, in particular with the British and the Germans, whether it be the situation in Iran or international security issues. And so I warmly congratulate Boris Johnson and I hope we can work together as soon as possible. Thank you.
I was saddened to learn of the death of President Béji Caïd Essebsi. I offer my condolences to his family, his loved ones, and to the Tunisian people.
With President Béji Caïd Essebsi, Tunisia loses a statesman who deeply marked the history of his country. France loses a friend who throughout his life worked tirelessly to foster friendship and rapprochement between our two countries and our two peoples, first as Tunisia’s Ambassador to France, from 1970 to 1972, then as the country’s chief diplomat, as Prime Minister, and finally as President.
Throughout his life, he worked to heal memories.
Béji Caïd Essebsi devoted his final years to committing his country to build a democratic political system that is respectful of human rights, equality between men and women, and the freedom of religion and conscience. His contribution to Tunisia’s stability and national unity is incalculable.
On July 24, North Korea conducted further ballistic missile launches, following those in May.
France reaffirms its condemnation of such launches, which undermine regional and international security and stability. It calls on North Korea to abide by Security Council resolutions demanding that it refrain from all provocation and all missile launches using ballistic technology and cease all activity linked to a ballistic missile program.
France calls on North Korea to resume dialogue with the United States on denuclearization as quickly as possible and embark swiftly on a process of complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its programs of weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges and associated programs. This is the precondition for lasting peace in the region.
The Rohingya situation remains very worrying. Fighting between Rakhine separatists from the Arakan Army and the Burmese army in Rakhine State is making the security and humanitarian situation on the ground even worse. France remains fully mobilized with its partners, in particular at the United Nations Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs had a meeting with State Counselor Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in Beijing on April 26, 2019. During this meeting, the Minister reiterated his concern about the human rights situation in Burma, particularly as regards the Rohingyas.
The fight against impunity is a priority, in order for a lasting solution to be brought to the crisis, at the same time as an immediate restoration of humanitarian access in Rakhine, assistance to refugees and internally displaced people, until the conditions for a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return are met.
The conclusions of the report by the Fact-Finding Mission, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, confirmed the extreme seriousness of the accusations leveled against the Burmese army. To support the fight against impunity, the Human Rights Council created an Independent Investigative Mechanism to collect and preserve evidence, through a resolution brought jointly by the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
France co-sponsored the latest UN Human Rights Council resolution, adopted on March 22, 2019, which calls for this new mechanism to enter swiftly into operation. Its team is currently being put together.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has also declared that it is able to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of deporting Rohingyas to Bangladesh. In this respect, France welcomed the ICC Prosecutor’s decision to open, on September 18, 2018, a Preliminary Examination into the alleged crime of deportation. Following the ICC’s first official visit to the Rohingya camps in south-east Bangladesh in March 2019, the ICC Prosecutor has just requested the Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation into alleged crimes, within the jurisdiction of the Court, of which at least one element occurred on Bangladeshi territory (party to the Rome Statute).