Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Mr David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
I was very happy to welcome David Cameron. It was his first visit to a major European country following his election, his re-election. I congratulated him on his success, which gives him a broad and stable majority for the next five years. So we’re going to work together – just as we’ve worked together, I would add, for three years in my case.
We have substantial and trustful relations between France and the United Kingdom. Substantial because, at economic level, we have a lot of trade. Substantial because a lot of Britons come to France and a lot of French people live in the UK. Substantial also because on especially crucial issues – I’m thinking of defence in particular – we have common interests and especially advanced cooperation, including in the military nuclear field.
We have trustful relations, too, because we’re two large countries with global responsibilities. Firstly, because we – France and Britain – are permanent members of the Security Council. Also because, given our history but also given our world view, we have a determination to support countries which ask us to, or which expect a great deal from our own intervention, in Africa and, as we’re also seeing, in the Middle East.
We also have the same determination to combat terrorism, and again I thank David Cameron, because he was one of the first people to call me after the Paris attacks and to come and march with us on 11 January. Moreover, we have intelligence cooperation which is especially clear and trust-based.
We also have a common position on preparations for the Climate Conference. David Cameron and his government were among the first to support us in preparations for this major engagement and ensure we could already adopt positions which – through our respective contributions, through our funding announcements – enable us to prepare the event in the best possible way.
There will also be important meetings: the G7 very soon, the United Nations General Assembly, but also regional meetings and also a meeting of the Commonwealth, which will be able to encourage closer ties, convergence and, in Paris, the collective agreement on the climate.
In the conversation we had this evening, we mentioned Britain’s place in the European Union. France would like Britain to remain in the EU. There will be a referendum; it’s been announced. It will be up to the British people to choose, in full sovereignty, what they want for their future.
But we think it’s in Europe’s interest and in the UK’s interest to be together. But there’s always respect for the people.
David Cameron will present his proposals, we’ll discuss them and we’ll see how we can move forward so that the British people can be consulted on a basis enabling them to make the choice that best suits them. On this, there will be discussions in the coming weeks, the coming months that will concern the European Commission and the European Council. We started talking about them this evening.
I thank David Cameron for being kind enough to give us some information about this today, although he’ll give us his proposals when the time comes. (…)./.
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