|Franco-German Defence and Security Council (2) |
Franco-German Defence and Security Council (2)
Statement on South-Eastern Europe at the Franco-German Defense and Security Council in Mainz, June 9, (excerpts) Source: French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris.
At the Mainz Franco-German summit, President Chirac, the Prime Minister, M. Jospin, and the Federal Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, discussed the current situation in the Balkans. They agreed that Germany and France will pursue and step up their joint efforts with respect to peacekeeping and maintaining stability in the region and achieving the reconciliation of its inhabitants.
Securing peace in south-eastern Europe remains a priority task for the European Union which is already making decisive contributions to the United Nations, NATO and OSCE peacekeeping missions and the reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia. France and Germany are keen to see the European Union take on its full leading role in the framework of the Stability Pact.
France and Germany believe that the European Union must make its policy more consistent and proactive and have a more clearly defined strategy for the Balkans. This will be one of France's main objectives during its presidency of the European Union.
The instigation for the continuing democratization of the western Balkan countries cannot come from outside: it must be kindled and strengthened from within. Germany supports France's idea of a summit meeting between the European Union and the countries of that region which, depending on the sphere, have made the greatest progress in their democratic development. Germany and France will work together on the preparation of this summit. It will be an opportunity to demonstrate Europe's solidarity with that region's countries and look with them at ways of speeding up the process of democratic and economic reform.
France and Germany are conscious of the lessons learned from their history and of the exemplary value of their reconciliation. They are convinced that their model of friendly exchanges and contacts at all levels of society can fruitfully be applied to south-eastern Europe.
Consequently, they have agreed jointly to undertake within the framework of the European Union's policy and in support of the Stability Pact the projects set out in the annex below on the pursuit of democratization, economic development and regional cooperation and therefore designed to bring these countries closer to the European Union.
1 - Youth exchanges
The Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ) has been asked to develop its activities in south-eastern Europe and step up in the future its trilateral exchange programmes in the region, as it has done in the central and east European countries. (…)
2 - University cooperation
France and Germany are keen to see the instruments created to develop Franco-German cooperation opened up, under conditions to be defined by the relevant university authorities, to universities, teachers, researchers and students from south-eastern Europe (…).
3 - Cooperation on vocational training
The Franco-German institutions which have established programmes for vocational training exchanges, in particular the Franco-German Secretariat for Vocational Training Exchanges (SFA) and the OFAJ, are being exhorted to open these up to young workers and apprentices from south-eastern Europe, particularly in agriculture, trades and SMEs.
4 - Civil service training and cooperation
France and Germany must cooperate at government department level in the training of young members of the Balkan countries' national legal services and State and local government officials in the south-east European countries. (..)
5 - Town twinnings - decentralized cooperation
Twinned French and German towns are being asked together to draw up and implement cooperation projects with opposition-led municipalities in Serbia and with municipalities in Montenegro and Kosovo, with the aim of bringing them immediate assistance and providing their citizens with concrete and visible evidence of solidarity. (…)
6 - Aid to independent media - cooperation in the audiovisual sector
Cooperation with the independent media in south-eastern Europe must be increased.
The Franco-German ARTE TV channel has agreed to take in a number of young journalists from south-eastern Europe. (…)
Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Deutsche Welle have been exhorted to work together to provide the independent media with technical and journalistic assistance. (…) They have also been asked to look at how they might jointly offer those countries' authorities their expertise regarding the preparation and final formulation of national legislation and regulations on the media.
7 - Berlin-Brandenburg Institute for Franco-German Cooperation in Europe
The Berlin-Brandenburg Institute for Franco-German Cooperation in Europe has established a trilateral programme, open to influential figures from France, Germany and the south-east European countries. (…)
8 - Environmental protection
Since protection of the environment is one of our two countries' major objectives, France and Germany will be examining together the possibilities for cooperation in south-eastern Europe, particularly in the areas of water management and air quality protection. (…)
9 - Arms control
Franco-German cooperation on arms control in south-eastern Europe will be pursued, in particular on the basis of the Dayton/Paris Agreement and the Stability Pact.
France and Germany welcome the joint operations already undertaken to reduce arms in Bosnia-Herzegovina and will pursue them. (…)/.