17/05/2017 Briefings


17/05/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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but the German interest are very closely linked with the French

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

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

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

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

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

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

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currently talk about issues regarding trade and commerce, and we

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

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

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unemployed in Germany and perhaps even more importantly in France.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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defending Europe, the European project and the Franco German

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

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

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

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

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

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and protection with regards to certain troubles that have affected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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talk about tomorrow. And then we will have the Parliamentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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more pragmatism and more European realism, less bureaucracy and a

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Europe which protects more our citizens. Other projects, other

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

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

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educational level, and also with regards to external defence and

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security, international policies and these are subjects we shall continue

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

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limited committee which we will talk about between our respective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Franco German couple I believe needs to restate more pragmatism and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and of commitment, whilst respecting republican rules and the

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geographical distinction shown during the presidential campaign.

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

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

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

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

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feeling that the Franco German relationship had lost in density -

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

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

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

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point in Europe as the very conditions of the French

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presidential elections have shown what we have seen in many European

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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something which Madame Chancellor needs to do so in her political

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

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

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

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be strong and intense and responsible between France and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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questions and answers and the French and Dutch elections have really

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

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

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

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

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TRANSLATION: Mr President, you certainly will have noticed earlier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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have decided to have bilingual classes, and that during the

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

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education will work on more elaboration, because from next

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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optimistic and to look optimistically into the future. I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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completely honest, Madame Chancellor, the subject of changing

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

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

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prospective for the Eurozone and in this process there must be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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speaking of foreign politics outside of France. The political

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

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

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

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

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

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European act has been announced during the election campaign that

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

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

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will be eliminated and the treaty that has been suggested or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Minister for economics and industry for several months I pushed forward

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the idea that the commission shortens the delays and shortens the

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

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

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

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international trade and fair competition, but we can believe in

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

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

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competitive, but because they are attacked unfairly by foreign

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

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

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is one which we can work with effectively together, totally

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

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

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

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

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regarding and opening of trade. Secondly, regarding the European

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

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

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

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

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investment bank and markets to get financing for big projects and

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

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

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to have a voluntary policy with regards to public and private

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

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budgetary capacity, and means to apply this through rules of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TRANSLATION: I believe there are commonalities and there may be

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differences but the exciting thing about Franco German cooperation is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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framework, for example you could speak about the corporation tax

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

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exchange best practices in recruitment, in the recruitment

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

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integration. I believe we have a lot of

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

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

:29:39.:29:43.

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

:29:44.:29:45.

Thank you.

:29:46.:29:50.