Meseberg franco-german meeting statements made by M. Jacques CHIRAC, President of the Republic, during his joint press briefing with Mrs Angela MERKEL, Chancellor of Germany (excerpts)

Meseberg franco-german meeting statements made by M. Jacques CHIRAC, President of the Republic, during his joint press briefing with Mrs Angela MERKEL, Chancellor of Germany (excerpts)


Meseberg, 23 February 2007

THE PRESIDENT – (···) Today's discussions focused on the European Union's future. The European Union project is vital. It reflects a powerful idea: the need, throughout Europe, in the broad sense of the term, to have the guarantee and assurance, for the future, of peace and security, stability and democracy. It's the principal objective which led, at the outset, essentially France and Germany to overcome the tragedies of history, their historical clashes, and come together to affirm that too much importance could never be given to securing peace and democracy on the whole European continent. That was the start of the EU's history. It explains, I believe, why France and Germany have a rather special role in this great adventure, and a responsibility. Whenever France and Germany have had differences of view, in the years gone by, Europe has come to a standstill; whenever France and Germany have pursued their path towards Europe, hand in hand, Europe has moved forward. (···) This cooperation is vital for Europe, and we're resolutely pursuing it. In particular, it prompts us to cooperate whenever there's a problem so that we find as wise and evenly balanced a solution as possible.

It's a bit what's happened recently (···) with the Airbus issue. The company's situation, the rivalry with Boeing, have created a problem requiring a number of reforms to be carried out. The company itself has to define and carry out these reforms (···). We clearly agree on that. We've simply pointed out that, as the two States principally concerned, we wished them to be marked by some simple principles: solidarity, of course, but also fairness, on the social and technological fronts. (···) Everything affecting jobs goes beyond the problems of the various parties and actually affects the very lives of families, and this must be taken on board.

Hence our determination that, in terms of jobs, as in terms of technology, there must be perfect fairness when it comes to the consequences, and no compulsory layoffs (···), and no sites closed without some organization or compensation. That's the very basis of the agreement we concluded, incidentally without any difficulties, and which is expressed in a communiqué we've drawn up and signed together. (···)

We also talked about the preparation of the European Council and energy (···), the determination which must be displayed to combat the different effects of climate change we're seeing and which the IPCC exposed, very specifically, just recently. I wholly share the goals set by Chancellor Merkel: ambitious and binding goals to control CO2 emissions; the objective of working on the post-Kyoto international system, seriously studying the idea of a carbon tax and preparing a European policy of investment in energy. On all these points we've got perfect agreement between Germany and France. (···)

Q. – Is it really useful for Airbus for big politics to get involved in this crisis?

THE PRESIDENT – That depends on what you call big politics. It's for the States concerned and leaders to assert a number of principles, certainly not to impose solutions which, I repeat, are the responsibility of the [Airbus] management. Personally, I think M. Gallois' proposals are sensible and responsible. It's for the States to set out the general principles, which have to be adhered to and I talked about just now.


Q. – Just now you stressed the importance of Franco-German relations. You will perhaps – or not – have another Blaesheim-type meeting before the end of your mandate. What message are you giving your successor and – regardless of who the future president is – do you have confidence in the pursuit of Franco-German relations as they have developed in recent years?

THE PRESIDENT – (···) We, French and Germans, are alas well aware of the consequences of our acts. When our parents used to say "never again", they were right and it was their way of expressing the obligation for Europeans to agree and, in the first place, for the two great powers of Germany and France never again to put themselves in the situation of having to fight each other. This principle is of course valid for the whole of Europe. This is why I'm convinced that, regardless of future developments and changes in leaders, there will inevitably be this inescapable reality, i.e. the imperative of ensuring stability, democracy and peace. It's an imperative which can be satisfied only through an organization of Europe which makes it impossible not to fulfil it. I'm convinced that, whoever the leaders are in France, in Germany, or elsewhere in Europe, this reality will be inescapable./.

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