17/05/2017 Briefings

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Recorded coverage of a joint press conference held by President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel following talks in Berlin, from Monday 15 May.

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TRANSLATION: Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy that I can welcome


here the French president, who has been inaugurated yesterday, I am


very happy to greet and welcome him here in Berlin. It is a great honour


that the first trip you are undertaking has taken you to Berlin,


to Germany, and you can see from the number of journalists that your trip


has stirred a certain amount of interest. We have exchanged our


views today and we have agreed that we are going to continue to work


very closely together. For a start, I congratulated the president for


his very courageous path that he is going to undertake, and the path


started during his electoral campaign and I wish him see the very


best of luck for his political future, to make sure that France


remains able to back and react. We know about the importance and


significance of the Franco German relationship. It is a historic and


long established relationship. And personally, I've 1am very much aware


-- personally, I for one, and very aware that at this point in time in


the European Union, that we must take the right decisions, and we


have agreed to work closely together, in friendly terms, for the


benefit of the people in our countries. I believe that the


essence of this relationship should be, and this is what Mr Macron says


to us Germans, we of course represent our nation's interests,


but the German interest are very closely linked with the French


interests, and Europe can only prosper if and when France and


Germany prosper. And that's the reason why I feel so committed to


this, and I say there is also on behalf of the federal government. We


have been discussing three areas which we are going to intensify over


dinner. There are number of issues, for example, the European asylum


system, we are going to talk about the service directive, we are


currently talk about issues regarding trade and commerce, and we


want to create jobs, we want to secure jobs in our countries. It is


something which is going to be very important for people who are


unemployed in Germany and perhaps even more importantly in France.


Secondary, we have agreed thus our bilateral co-operation will have to


be further developed, we are going to connect with points in the past,


but we want to increase the dynamics, that's the reason why in


July we want to conduct another German-French Council of Ministers,


in order to present a number of project that should give a new push


to our relationship. We have also agreed that in the midterm of the


European Union, we want to work out a timetable, a road map, if you


like, so project that cannot valet overnight, but we have a joint


conviction that we are not only going to deal with the British exit


from the European Union, but we also need to deepen the European Union,


the co-operation within the Eurozone and we need to promote co-operation.


For example, issues like tax system harmonisation, that can also be part


of our discussions. Co-operation in defence, we are going to intensify


our talks there as well. There should be a more coherent European


defence and foreign policy, and France and Germany will be a


component in this trust, and I also support all the efforts to somehow


decrease bureaucracy. Sometimes we are too cumbersome, too slow and not


too agile. So, a very warm welcome here in Berlin. And from my part, I


can only say, I look forward to a very good co-operation and I look


forward to our good results for the citizens in our countries.


TRANSLATION: Thank you very much thank you, Madame Chancellor. Ladies


and gentlemen, on my side, I am very happy indeed steamy day after the


handing over of powers, to be here with you in Berlin, and to have this


first exchange on our future policies. You reminded people that I


was elected on the 7th of May for a project which was clearly European,


defending Europe, the European project and the Franco German


project, not a relationship of blackmail but of trust, which is a


condition of progressing Europe, to progress overall. And of course, I


haven't forgotten the message of anger, of the French people, that


expressed itself on the 7th of May, and which reminded us, all of us,


that there are also reforms that need to be made, more effectiveness


and protection with regards to certain troubles that have affected


the people and the world. And so I am here today, I am happy to


represent France, but with a heavy burden, a heavy task, my first task,


Madame Chancellor, is to put in place the reforms that France needs.


And so, the agenda will be one of reform over the next few months,


social, economic and educational, as I stated during the campaign,


because France needs it. Because France today, the only big country


in the European Union which over the last 30 years has not been able to


avoid mass unemployment. And that is what make and will do, which I will


talk about tomorrow. And then we will have the Parliamentary


elections as you stated, but it is in that spirit that I will ask the


Prime Minister to conduct the government's policy. And then there


is the need to have a Europe which is less bureaucratic and a Europe


which protects, and it is with that in mind that we have had our


exchanges. And you have talked about several projects in the short-term


which we can discuss closely. Writes of asylum, outsourcing of jobs


within the EU, these are all subjects which will have an impact


on the daily lives of our citizens and companies and over which we need


more pragmatism and more European realism, less bureaucracy and a


Europe which protects more our citizens. Other projects, other


plans, we will continue to talk about, and these are our bilateral


relationships with regards to tax, biometrics, convergence, and on the


educational level, and also with regards to external defence and


security, international policies and these are subjects we shall continue


to talk about over the coming weeks, and I'm happy that we shall have a


limited committee which we will talk about between our respective


governments. Finally, I am also happy that together, with our


respective teams, we will be able to work for projects over the


medium-term and have a common road medium-term and have a common road


map for the European Union and Eurozone. These are very, very


important subject, as we've seen over the last few years, and you


yourself as Chancellor have managed these projects. They also have an


impact on our citizens. And in-depth reforms are required and require


joint action, and my desire is that over the coming weeks, we can


contribute and have a Franco German road map which will allow us to


progress more widely over the next few years on these subject. Our


relationship needs more trust, and to have practical results. And the


Franco German couple I believe needs to restate more pragmatism and


voluntarism, short- and medium-term, for the European Union and for the


Eurozone. And it is with this in mind that we shall work together and


on my site, I will always be an honest, direct and constructive


partner, because I believe that the success of our two countries is very


closely related, and on that depends the whole success of Europe, and I


am very attached to it. And I think you, Madame Chancellor, once again,


for your welcome, and I would like to say in a spirit of responsibility


and of commitment, whilst respecting republican rules and the


geographical distinction shown during the presidential campaign.


TRANSLATION: Madame Chancellor, Mr new French president, you have just


talked about it, certain facts, Frankie Jones history, we think of


the goal, she's got Distin, Helmut Kohl, Francis Mitterrand, amongst


others, and so I am asking you, over the last few years, we have the


feeling that the Franco German relationship had lost in density -


will this density remain, do you wish to once again have a historical


relationship between France and Germany? Yes. I will perhaps develop


a little bit! Yes, because I believe that we are at an historical turning


point in Europe as the very conditions of the French


presidential elections have shown what we have seen in many European


countries in the European Union, which shows us every day that there


is a rise in populism, which is a direct consequence of populations


that doubt that progress is mismanaged, not enough balance. We


need a moment of relaunch of the creation. Of course there are


difficulties, and public opinions don't have the same sensitivity. It


can only be done with mutual respect, with a very close working


relationship. As I believe in historical we creation, I also


believe in mutual trust. I think that in order to reach that, I think


that everyone needs to do what he needs to do. In France, I need to


apply in-depth reforms which are necessary for our country, but also


for the full restoration of the return to Franco German trust,


something which Madame Chancellor needs to do so in her political


life. But both of us are convinced that we need short-term results, but


also real transformation and a wee creation and we founding of Europe.


In any case, I am fully in, with my presidential mandate, my policy will


be strong and intense and responsible between France and


Germany on many subjects, a return to full confidence and trust and to


have a historical relationship, where our duty in the coming years


is to organise a relaunch of the Eurozone and the European Union.


It is interesting that in Germany there is at the moment is very


receptive audience and we have reached a point in time where many


people as what we have with Europe, in Europe, and many people seem


Europe is very important -- many people say that Europe is very


important. Over the last few years we have somewhat lost sight of these


questions and answers and the French and Dutch elections have really


shown to us Germans what a treasure Europe and the European Union are.


And how important the Franco German relationship is for this treasure,


and I think we have reached a moment in history and we should really use


this moment to show people that Europe can really be strengthened.


TRANSLATION: Mr President, you certainly will have noticed earlier


the small crowd that gathered in front of this chancellery, and I can


tell you in the history of this building I have never seen such a


scene, such a crowd, to greet foreign leader. Perhaps that was


true for Barack Obama, but what was your feeling with this crowd, people


who are dancing, who are singing in your honour? Is it pressure, do you


feel pressure? Or do you feel strengthened? And Madame Chancellor


I would like to ask you what does it mean to you to see the scenes,


people literally in front of your office windows, where a few months


ago Pediga and people who are enemies of the state, if you like,


where they have held matches -- held marches, and all of a sudden there


is this new atmosphere? TRANSLATION: First of all it is very moving for


me, this joy that accompanies the victory in Berlin, it moves me,


because it shows there has been a European commitment and that Europe,


contrary to what people say, it is not just a question of doubt, the,


Brexit, or Frexit for some, but it is the feeling of attachment that


men and women feel, and it is very difficult, and it is also our


responsibility to give credence to Europe. This enthusiasm. I am very


attached to it, and that is how it lives. That is the reason why I take


this opportunity, as I said earlier, that during this campaign I have


committed myself so that we share better our linguistic world and I


have decided to have bilingual classes, and that during the


ministerial meeting we shall have in July, are ministers of National


education will work on more elaboration, because from next


September there will be bilingual classes in France, but more widely


this enthusiasm beyond this time, it forces us, and I don't think it


gives us strength in relation to Madame Chancellor, because she has


the same obligations as myself and she has taken the initiative, when


we went up to her office, to go out onto the balcony and greet me with


much enthusiasm, but it forces us, because those who believe in Europe


need to be able to give to other people the proof, the evidence, that


this Europe works. We must have a plan every day, that without Europe


we would neither have peace, nor prosperity, nor freedom, and that


our continent, and in fact I would say our two countries, have never


known, over many decades, so much prosperity, and there is a danger of


forgetting, so beyond that it forces us to have results, forces us to


have a sense of perspective, and what I wish is that in five years'


time when I shall return to visit Madame Chancellor that there can be


the same crowd, an even bigger one, because we will have obtained


results. TRANSLATION: We have this sentence stemming from Herman Hesse


and -- it says each and every departure shall have a new beginning


in it, and that is the beauty. Now we have an opportunity to start


working together, but of course in the knowledge that we can only


accomplish something if we can also deliver results. We know about that,


and that will be our guiding principle, but of course it is very


encouraging when people turn up here and they support us, and they also


are cheerful. I think the French president said something which moved


me very much, namely that he wants for the French people to be


optimistic and to look optimistically into the future. I


believe this is a wish I would like to support wholeheartedly.


TRANSLATION: Madame Chancellor, to relaunch Europe, as President Macron


said, can we envisage a change of treaties, as Mr Macron suggested, Mr


President, your Prime Minister said he is of the right. Does that mean


your politics will be the politics of the right? TRANSLATION: We spoke


about it briefly from the chairman perspective. It is possible to


change the treaties, if that makes sense, and if it is necessary to


change the Eurozone, then you can perhaps legitimise and sometimes use


it as a European component, but of coarse we first need to establish


what they want to do, and if a change to the treaty is necessary


then I will be prepared to do just that. You cannot say, and I have


always taken offence with that since we have had the Lisbon Treaty, we


hear people saying, we have made such a hard effort and this treaty


will never be changed in the entire lifetime of people, but of course


the European Union is under attack from all corners and the world


changes and we should not say we should never change the treaty. We


should always ask ourselves, what is the sense? And if and when it makes


sense generally we will be prepared. TRANSLATION: I must say, to be


completely honest, Madame Chancellor, the subject of changing


treaties used to be a French taboo subject. In my case that would apply


-- won't apply and I hope the joint road map will be one that gives


prospective for the Eurozone and in this process there must be


institutional changes. And new treaties, we are ready for it. What


counts is the political concept of the future, the terms and


conditions, and if we can be convinced the concept is clear and


if it requires institutional changes and it is determined, I hope it


would be the case there will be no taboo as far as I am concerned. As


for your second question, now we shall apply the discipline of not


speaking of foreign politics outside of France. The political


recomposition which I initiated a few months ago which led to my


election will continue, within the framework. The framework of French


people wanted, not war and not less. TRANSLATION: Mr President and Madame


Chancellor, I would like to know if the desire for corporation that you


have expressed, that it may not be hiding major differences. A major


European act has been announced during the election campaign that


sounds a bit like a free-trade agreement, in the American style.


Are you afraid, Madame Chancellor, that the existing trade arrangements


will be eliminated and the treaty that has been suggested or


corporation that has been suggested, is it not what we already have? And


would it not be better to actually link up with the Juncker plan and


perhaps invest more money, and perhaps you can also eliminate one


rumour here in Germany... There is a rumour that this is to be


introduced... Is that a myth or a rumour, what is it? TRANSLATION:


Regarding the first question, I hope we have are Europe that protects


better and that from time to time there is less naivety. When I was


Minister for economics and industry for several months I pushed forward


the idea that the commission shortens the delays and shortens the


rates for anti-dumping. It is not unfair but today Europe defends less


well its workers and companies than the United States, so I wish us to


improve our anti-dumping policy and I believe in free trade and


international trade and fair competition, but we can believe in


it without being naive, because otherwise you cannot expend it to


your workers. When you workers lose their jobs, not because they are not


competitive, but because they are attacked unfairly by foreign


companies that apply dumping, if you tell them, Europe doesn't react, you


kill the European idea. With regards to public contracts, the first stage


is one which we can work with effectively together, totally


compatible with our joint philosophy with regards to trade. And it is to


apply reciprocity, and when we trade with the country that doesn't


respect certain rules, we can have reciprocity on the subject. I think


it is a pragmatism and is totally in compliance with what we can defend


regarding and opening of trade. Secondly, regarding the European


fund or budgetary capacity, in no way is that question of debilitating


that Juncker plan, but shall state the reality. It is just an


instrument of a long-term financing of debt. The Juncker plan, enabled


to recover existing money from the, by using the funds of the European


investment bank and markets to get financing for big projects and


companies. It is very useful but in no way is it a budgetary capacity


because it is not new money. What the Eurozone needs in particular is


to have a voluntary policy with regards to public and private


investment. And to be able to inject fresh money and to have a true


budgetary capacity, and means to apply this through rules of


convergence, true structural rules, because one doesn't go with the


other. We need a road map to work from. And that is the reason why I


have never in the project I put forward ever defended what we call


the Eurobonds and what that covers in the German debate. I am not a


promoter of the neutralisation of past debts. Why? It leads to a


policy of making less responsible those who have made efforts, not be


rewarded by others, and we have specific cases to examine in time,


but what I believe is we have new investments to be made and to think


about investment mechanisms for the future, and to work on more


integration for the future, but in no way not neutralising or pooling


the past and I want to be clear so we can progress positively.


TRANSLATION: I believe there are commonalities and there may be


differences but the exciting thing about Franco German cooperation is


we are not by default of one view, but we come to a symbiosis and that


is to the benefit of the two countries but also for the larger


Europe, so we will speak about it, but regarding the trade relations,


the element of reciprocity, I can well imagine that in the European


Union. For example, we asked the commission to consider as to whether


there may also be investments for strategic decisions, not only on a


national basis, and regarding the worker directive, we will work


closely together. For me it is very important what the president was


just saying, namely you need coherence in terms of the legal


framework, for example you could speak about the corporation tax


being harmonised, being closer to each other country to country, to


exchange best practices in recruitment, in the recruitment


process. Every country would have their own experience and also about


integration. I believe we have a lot of


commonalities but also a lot of work to do. That is a matter of fact. But


workers not accomplished today, but I think we have already made a good


start. The good start will give us a good momentum to continue working.


Thank you.