Foreign Minister hails "very fruitful" talks in Germany
European Union – Germany – Statements by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, at his joint press conference with Mr Sigmar Gabriel, German Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Berlin, 22 May 2017
Thank you, Sigmar. I’m very pleased to be in Berlin paying my first bilateral visit since I took office as France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Given [our] major partnerships, it seemed to me essential and desirable to come here for this first visit and meet you. But admittedly it’s not my first visit to Berlin.
I had many opportunities to come here as defence minister – which I was for five years – and meet both Mr Thomas de Maizière and Ms Ursula von der Leyen not long ago, right here in Berlin. We had a very productive partnership in that specific field. For me, another chapter is now being written in the new political period in France, with President Macron’s arrival. The support he obtained in the presidential election will strengthen our partnership even further and make us face our shared responsibility for [promoting] the need for Europe even more. The role we’re both going to have will, I think, be very decisive. In the immediate future, we’re going to try and implement, as far as possible, the boost given by the Chancellor and President Macron at their meeting last week on a Europe that both protects and invests. And I’m convinced that we’ll have an absolutely exceptional relationship in this new framework we’ve been set.
I’d also like to say that we had a very fruitful discussion about the crises in the world, this unstable world on which we have strong common stances. We were also able to note qualitative progress in our work together in the Sahel, in Africa, and in our shared desire to ensure that the continent benefits from both security and development. We noted our shared determination to make headway in this area, and I wanted to tell you that I’d really like close Franco-German cooperation to continue on all the major international crises we discussed earlier.
The subjects on which our dialogue must continue include, in particular, defence and security issues, because the forthcoming meeting of NATO heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday will provide an opportunity to remind people of Europe’s involvement in the Alliance. Moreover, we must continue, unstintingly and tenaciously, our efforts in the Normandy format to resolve the Ukraine crisis. In any case, our first meeting went ahead in an atmosphere of great trust and great determination on the goals we share./.