French and German leaders discuss UK and EU

Germany – Bilateral relations/European Union – Statement by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Ms Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Paris, 16 March 2018

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I think the work now ahead of us is important in a deeply shaken-up European context; deeply shaken up since Brexit; deeply shaken up, too, since the Italian election, which saw a rise in extremes and made us feel really tangibly all the consequences not only of the lasting economic difficulties that we haven’t totally managed to resolve but also the migration challenges we haven’t totally managed to resolve either.

This clearly places a significant responsibility on us, at the very time when international tensions are constantly growing, and here I want – the Chancellor and I will obviously talk about it at length – to say a word of solidarity with our British friends and reiterate here the allies’ full solidarity with the United Kingdom, which has suffered an attack on its soil; reiterate here that we condemn that Russian interference and what’s happened, because everything suggests it is indeed Russia that was behind those attempted murders; and also reaffirm our shared determination – and we’ve constantly upheld it with Germany in recent months and years – to prohibit chemical weapons from being used in any way, wherever they may be, in accordance with our commitments at the United Nations and NATO.

So our responsibility in this context is extremely important. Again, I hear doubtful or resigned comments, [from] people always on the lookout for failure or division. I think we’re both fully aware of our responsibility today.

For many years, Germany has waited for France to carry out its reforms; France has done this over the past few months in totally new circumstances, proactively, and we’ll continue implementing them.

For many years, Europe has waited for the Franco-German couple to move forward and make proposals with the strength it has historically been able to muster at every one of Europe’s major stages. We’re ready for this. And so this is the stage now ahead of us.

Six months ago, I made some proposals; we talked a great deal together before these were made, and we’ve talked a great deal since. It’s essential today for us to build this new ambition together. That’s our task between now and June. On Economic and Monetary Union, and particularly the Euro Area, our ability to reconnect responsibility and solidarity; on migration policy, defence policy and trade policy, and also our research policies, our culture, on education policy and the bulk of the major areas we’ve defined together, we’ll propose a clear, ambitious road map for this radical reform between now and June, and we’ll put the necessary energy into this.

Beyond this European road map there’s of course the bilateral relationship, and several weeks ago we reaffirmed our common desire to move forward on a new Elysée Treaty as well, a joint treaty; and this evening we’re also going to be working on and discussing this bilateral chapter, on which our European ambition has always been built.

As you’ll have understood, an important page is being turned today in which we’ll have a lot to do over the coming quarter, not just taking short-term decisions but also mapping out medium- and long-term prospects, essential for our Europe and probably more essential today than even a few months ago.

At any rate, Madam Chancellor, chère Angela, you know how ready I am for this and how much I’m looking forward to this joint work, so I want to say to you once again, welcome to Paris, and above all, bravo for the government that has been formed and for securing the confidence of Parliament./.

Published on 26/03/2018

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