PM: "I feel the Anglo-French relationship is very strong."
Speech by the PM David Cameron and President François Hollande at the Olympic Park, London on 6 September 2012, following their bilateral meeting.
Thank you. Well I’m delighted to welcome my colleague, François Hollande, back to the Olympic Park here in London during London 2012. We’ve had some very good, close discussions. Britain and France are working very closely together on all the key issues. President François has been very kind and generous about Britain’s staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I’m very grateful for that and for you being here again today, François.
We obviously have discussed the tragic case of the terrible killings of the British family near Annecy. I have spoken to the British ambassador in France and the consular staff are working very hard and cooperating very closely with the French authorities so that we do everything we can to help those poor children, and also help the French police get to the bottom of what happened in this clearly very tragic and awful case. We’ll be working very closely together and will stay in close contact. The faster we can get to the bottom of what happened, the better for all concerned. We will make sure that those two children get all the support that the British government and the Foreign Office can give, whether in France or extra help we can send to make sure that they have everything they need.
We discussed the situation in the eurozone, where I warmly welcome what Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank have done today. I’ve said for two years now that we need a European Central Bank that stands firmly and squarely behind the euro currency, and that is prepared not just to make those statements but back them with real financial muscle and a clear plan. I think we are closer to that today than we’ve been for a very long time. I warmly welcome those steps having been taken. It is clearly important for the countries of the eurozone but it is also important for countries like Britain, where we do so much of our trade with eurozone countries like France, Spain, Germany and of course all the others.
We had very good discussions about the situation in Syria, which is a dreadful situation. We both want to see transition: we want to see President Assad and his illegitimate, murderous regime go. We’ve agreed that we should do all we can to work with and help the Syrian opposition groups; we are providing non-lethal, non-military support to those groups. France and Britain are going to work very closely together with regional allies to see what more we can do to help bring about this transition.
We also discussed a number of other global, economic, defence and security issues. On this, our third or fourth meeting, as well as our regular conversations, I feel the Anglo-French relationship is very strong, as it should be. Welcome again, François.
President Hollande (via translator)
We’d like to thank you, David Cameron. I expressed my emotion earlier today and our solidarity to the British people in relation to the terrible murder that happened in Haute-Savoie near Annecy. Both the French and the British families have been impacted by this terrible event and we will do our utmost to identify the perpetrators, to find the reasons behind that event and to do everything possible. As I said, our police are cooperating and everything that is found will be shared with everyone. We owe it to the families.
I also congratulated the Prime Minister and all those involved with the organisation of both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games, which have been such a great success with outstanding participation. I’m not referring to the number of medals won by one country or another; there are some topics that we do not discuss anymore but the UK can be very proud of what’s been done, and there are lessons for France to be learned if we were to apply again to organise the Olympic Games.
Regarding the eurozone, France and the United Kingdom are in different situations but share the same interests. We both took decisions in October at the Summit regarding Greece and Spain, so that, if no answers have been found by then to the current issues, solutions can be agreed and must be agreed in October.
Regarding the ECB and the announcements made today, I respect the independence of the Bank, but I must say at the same time that it has been acting in conformity with its mandate, which is both to support price stability in Europe but also to support growth in Europe and hence stability in Europe. The ECB acted in coherence with the decisions made on the Summit on 28th and 29th June, which means that if some countries apply to get some support from the ESM, they can also get some limited support from the Bank.
Europe is currently solving issues which have been pending for too long. The ECB is usefully contributing to finding solutions. It also showed that the eurozone is irreversible; that is fundamental for France. We are also working on implementing the growth pact, which has been agreed upon in June. Countries both within and without the eurozone will be playing their role.
Topics outside the eurozone and Europe itself of course include Syria, and David Cameron and myself fully agree on this matter. We need to speed up transition. We also need to help the position federate and get together in a government that will tomorrow represent Syria. We also need to support the opposition in any way we can, both in relation to the humanitarian aspects and also to help them get organised.
Regarding Sahel and Mali, I am pleased that the government turned to the African authorities and will launch an operation to reconquer the north and Mali’s territorial integrity. France would like the Security Council to make this legitimate legally, and we will provide all the necessary support while allowing the Africans to undertake these operations.
It has been a pleasure. Thank you.
President Hollande (via translator)
We also have an excellent relationship, as was shown again today at all levels, including in the field of defence where we have some ongoing, active cooperation. This shows that, beyond our differences, the most important thing is what unites us. It is the third time that David Cameron has welcomed me to London, though I did invite him to come to Paris even though we are not planning to organise the Olympic Games any time soon. Thank you.