French President outlines EU summit talks

European Council/economic policy/migration – Press conference by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (excerpts)

Brussels, 18 December 2015

Ladies and gentlemen,

So this morning we continued the European Council, on several subjects. The first: Economic and Monetary Union, because in this period when we’ve talked a lot about terrorism, refugees and also climate, and when growth in Europe has picked up again, it’s very important that the decisions we’ve already been taking for three years can also follow their course and that banking union can be completed up to this final stage with deposit guarantees. (…)

We also – and this was the thrust of the speech by Mr Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank – want the monetary policy decided on by the bank to be consistent with the fiscal policies each country conducts, in accordance with the Stability Pact and with Europe’s actions in the framework of the Juncker Plan, in such a way that we can properly grasp what’s happening at global level, i.e. a slowdown in the emerging economies, which isn’t worrying in itself because it’s been heralded for a long time, but which must nevertheless be taken into account to support our own chances of growth, given that there won’t be so many exports to those countries as in the past. And there are also changes arising from commodity prices, and particularly oil prices, and with inflation, which is especially low and which therefore justifies policies to support economic activity, within the limits set by the Stability Pact.

And that’s the reason why confidence in the euro is very important, and even though the euro has experienced a variation and has appreciated less – that’s what we were hoping for, incidentally, for a number of countries –, it’s very important for there to be confidence in the euro on the markets, hence Economic and Monetary Union. And like yesterday, I’ve talked to you about the discussions with the United Kingdom and I’ve stressed that the Euro Area must be capable of strengthening its integration; I attach great value to the ability of Economic and Monetary Union, on the basis of the reports presented by the institutions, to continue modernizing and growing stronger. (…)

That was the gist of this European Council, yesterday on the issue of refugees, the implementation of our decisions, the discussions that must be embarked on with the United Kingdom so that the British can answer the question they’re being asked, and today using the Paris Agreement on the climate as a springboard for launching our policies, and playing our role in the fight against terrorism. (…)./.

European Council/energy policy – Press conference by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Brussels, 18 December 2015

(…)

The second subject was the energy union. Why? Because all the countries – once again, all 28 – welcomed what had happened in Paris and confirmed how historic the agreement was, how it was going to transform all energy policies and therefore European policy and each member country’s policy. It was very important for us to be able to use the success of COP21 to carry out, at our European level, the necessary implementation and next steps. And that’s the reason why the agreement reached must allow the Commission to make us proposals on renewable energy, energy efficiency and research.

For France I proposed that there should be a “COP21 France” – i.e. all the conclusions we must draw from the agreement that has just been signed. And it’s the same thing for Europe, a “COP21 Europe”: we must implement – and with our goals, of course – the fight against warming, and also implement security of supply and competitiveness. (…)./.

European Council/fight against terrorism/Daesh/Syria – Press conference by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (excerpts)

Brussels, 18 December 2015

(…)

Third subject: the fight against terrorism. Firstly, I welcomed the progress finally made on the PNR [Passenger Name Record], i.e. the programme which will enable us to monitor journeys in air transport and which respects personal data, because safeguards were also provided by the [European] Parliament, as a legislative framework for personal data was found this week. So we can now implement [it]. I want to attach the same purpose to the European Council decisions. It’s not simply about declaring, it’s not simply about deciding, it’s about implementing. The PNR must be implemented very quickly, and that’s what this European Council has decided on once again.

Second very important point: systematic checks at all the external borders of Schengen for nationals entering that area, which will enable us to verify entries to and departures from the territory and identify people – I’m thinking in particular of foreign fighters who either want to go to areas in Syria and Iraq or are returning from them.

There’s a third decision, namely the fight against arms trafficking, which must be fought with even more coordination and therefore more ambition. All weapons! Because we now know that weapons that may be used in the context of organized crime or drug trafficking may at one point or another fall into the hands of terrorists.

And that, too, is the purpose of the fight against terrorism financing. There too, Europe must equip itself with the means to act, exchange information and also get moving in terms of what’s just been decided in New York: a very important meeting was held yesterday against terrorism financing. And in combating terrorism financing, you combat dirty finance. You combat the tax havens used by organized crime groups or terrorist groups, and so you also enable a clarification that was awaited and which was necessary, because whenever there are “holes”, as it were, in the international rules, the terrorists’ funding hides in those holes.

A meeting on Syria is taking place in New York at this very moment. And all the countries that can contribute to a solution to the Syria tragedy are gathered together. It’s the third time this process has been repeated, and fortunately we’re making progress: there was a meeting in Riyadh, a few days ago, of all the opposition forces in Syria. Those forces have a new president, Riad Hijab, the former prime minister, who comes from the regime, who broke with the regime in 2012 and who may, along with others, be the one who can make headway in the negotiation. This negotiation must lead to a transition, and Assad – this was repeated at the European Council – can’t be the future of Syria. So we supported this movement, and it’s making an effective contribution to the search for a solution in Syria.

But we must also conduct military operations, and here I want to welcome the fact that after the resolution France managed to get adopted at the Security Council, Resolution 2249, adopted unanimously to combat Daesh [so-called ISIL], I made the proposal – it was during my speech to the Congrès [joint meeting of National Assembly and Senate] gathered in Versailles – to refer the matter to all the European countries, under Article 42 (7), asking them for solidarity, because France was under attack. Well, let me point out that a month after that speech, a month after Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, referred the matter to his counterparts, European countries responded: the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy – I’m not going to mention them all: there’s very great solidarity, a very big mobilization to enable us to make the necessary response at military level.

We’re combining our strengths against Daesh, and we’re also ensuring that any trafficking Daesh may organize – oil trafficking, trafficking in works of art too – can be eliminated. (…)./.

Published on 07/04/2016

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