|The Overhauling of Germano-French Relations (1)|
The Overhauling of Germano-French Relations (1)
79 Franco-German Consultations: Statements made by Mr Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic during his joint Press Conference with Mr Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. (Excerpts), Schwerin, 30 July 2002. Source: French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, July 30, 2002.
The President: (...) At a time when Europe is going to see two important changes, enlargement and institutional reform, it is clearer than ever that agreement between Germany and France is a sine qua non for it to work. (...) Europe can't be built without agreement between Germany and France. We registered this fact a long time ago and it's enabled us over the years to iron out many differences of opinion on specific points. But we still have efforts to make, and we must make them fast.
We have a forthcoming summit in Brussels, but above all we have the Copenhagen summit. And, as the Chancellor was saying just now, we have the fortieth anniversary (...) of the Franco-German Treaty. In view of all this, we have decided to act (...) with the utmost resolution on two fronts.
Enlargement/CAP/Future of Europe
Firstly, the search for a consensus (...) on the European issues. That essentially means three major subjects: the problem of enlargement, i.e. the accession negotiations and thus the agriculture problems, financing [the CAP], and each country's contributions. It's essential for us to decide on a common Germano-French position in this sphere before Copenhagen.
Secondly, the future of Europe. This means our position vis-à-vis the Convention's work and proposals.
And here we have decided that our two representatives, their deputies, and of course the relevant ministers are going to work very hard to achieve a joint position which will have to be expressed (...) to the Convention in Germany and France's name.
And finally, the last point which is equally essential: the Common Foreign and Security Policy and defence, (...) a sphere in which it's essential for Europe to affirm its identity. (...)
The second front is the overhauling of Germano-French relations – when I say this I don't mean that they weren't good, I'm simply saying that we need constantly to tailor our relations to the modern world, the new generations, today's problems. In this context, we aren't seeking to revise the Franco-German treaty, but wish to make a joint declaration genuinely setting out Germany and France's common vision of tomorrow's Europe, and enabling us to strengthen our machinery for consultation and exchanges at government level, at that too of our parliaments (...), at that of the armed forces and (...) more generally that of civil society.
We have resolved to do, between October and December, the necessary work to achieve all these goals. This is why we have decided, on the one hand, to set up the indispensable working groups on the three main themes - enlargement, the Convention and the Foreign and Security Policy - so as genuinely to have a common position in Copenhagen, and to put to the Convention. We have also decided to entrust to our two Foreign Ministers, Joschka Fischer and Dominique de Villepin, the task of preparing the joint declaration of 22 January 2003, setting out how today we see relations between our two countries.
Finally, we have resolved to meet once a month in the framework of the Blaesheim process [decision to hold regular joint meetings taken at the Franco-German Blaesheim summit in January 2001], starting as soon as the end of August or very beginning of September because, given the tasks I have just talked about, it will be vital every month to give a boost to all these discussions.
Question: Do you believe a military attack against Iraq is still avoidable and is there still a chance of convening an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference before such an attack against Iraq takes place?
The President: I don't want to contemplate an attack against Iraq, an attack which could, should the need arise, be justified only if it were decided on by the Security Council (...). Nor do I want to contemplate the Iraqi authorities not understanding that it is in their interest to accept the UN Secretary-General's proposals, which include both lifting the embargo on all the civilian goods Iraq needs and the return of the inspectors, who ought never to have left, which has created the problem we are experiencing today. I believe Iraq would be well advised to understand the need very soon to reach an agreement with the UN Secretary-General.
As for the Middle East problem, sadly, it is of course complex and Germany and France have, as for Iraq, a common position. (...) We are convinced that there's no way out through violence, that it's only through a political agreement that the violence can be stopped and the way paved for an agreement. This means both moving in the direction the Quartet mapped out very recently and establishing a political framework which requires an international conference meeting as soon as possible, at least at Foreign Minister level. (...)./.