François Hollande on Greece and migration crises
European Union/Greece/migration issues – Press briefing by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, prior to the European Council
Brussels, 25 June 2015
Q. – Are you confident about reaching an agreement this evening?
THE PRESIDENT – The agreement is possible. The agreement is necessary. There are still gaps remaining. Since Monday, a lot of people have been working on this. We must let the negotiators – i.e. the European institutions, the Commission, the Central Bank and also the IMF and Greece – operate and successfully complete these discussions so that they can be concluded. When? I’ll tell you: the sooner the better, because when an agreement is possible, when an agreement is necessary, it mustn’t come at the last minute. I don’t think there would be anything to gain by leaving it too much longer. I don’t think Greece has any more time.
Q. – What are the obstacles?
THE PRESIDENT – The obstacles lie not so much in where to go – it’s now known: i.e. what Greece has to do, and it’s already specified its intentions and goals – as in how to get there. I don’t think we’re far off. Discussions are still under way; that’s natural, because it’s very technical. When Greece, Europe and the Euro Area are at stake, you have to be able to finish negotiations.
Q. – Must the agreement include the debt issue?
THE PRESIDENT – The agreement must include financing.
[On the migrants:] The aim of Europe isn’t to fail. Nor is it to answer every question. The aim of Europe is to succeed, faced with a problem which is a major human problem and one which isn’t going to disappear overnight. The two principles are, firstly, solidarity vis-à-vis refugees – because solutions must be found – and, secondly, responsibility, because a number of issues, particularly the reception [of migrants] on European shores, must be settled.
So it’s this double task we have to carry out: be able to receive, register and make a distinction between refugees and migrants. Secondly, be able to get a commitment from each country. France’s position is that every country must make commitments and there must be solidarity in the face of what is a problem – not a European problem, but a global humanitarian problem./.