French President welcomes Theresa May [fr]
Statement by M. Emmanuel Macron during his joint press briefing with Mrs Theresa May (Paris, 13 June 2017)
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
I’m very pleased to welcome Theresa May for a working dinner, which we’ve had with our teams and our interior ministers, just a few days after the British election, and I’m very grateful to Mrs May for so quickly accepting the invitation for this dinner and the football match between our two teams in a few moments.
Your visit perfectly embodies the bond uniting our two countries, solidarity and effectiveness, friendship and working together, remembrance and looking to the future. I say this a few days after the attacks which hit Manchester and London, one after the other. We had an opportunity to talk to each other, both times, in the hours which followed.
But I want to reiterate here how affected and hurt we were, along with you, because every time, these have been attacks against young people and free democracy, and because we, too, lost several lives and had several casualties, who testify to this very strong bond which unites us. Hundreds of thousands of British people live in France, and hundreds of thousands of French people live in Britain.
So this evening we talked about our future and our common challenges, and first of all our counter-terrorism cooperation. Cooperation between us is exemplary today in terms of intelligence exchanges and cooperation between our services; what followed after these two attacks perfectly demonstrated this.
I want to pay a glowing tribute here to our security forces and intelligence services, which work together daily to ensure our safety. We owe them a great deal.
But we decided together to go further this evening by working, for several days now, on a very concrete action plan which our teams have prepared and which is being made public this evening. This action plan will be implemented by our services.
It aims, firstly, to increase the commitments and obligations of online operators, to remove content which promotes, in any type of media, hatred and terrorism. Commitments exist today, they are inadequate.
Theresa May very rightly reminded us in Taormina a few weeks ago that it’s in the first two hours that nearly 50% of potential terrorists – in any case minds that can be manipulated – are affected by this propaganda, when the commitments made are currently implemented only within 48 hours.
Next, improving ways to access encrypted content, under conditions that protect the confidentiality of correspondence, so that this messaging can’t be a tool for terrorists and criminals.
Finally, stepping up international cooperation, particularly with the United States , to improve access to digital evidence in investigations conducted by our police and justice services, wherever that data is located.
These extremely practical points are essential for doing the maximum to prevent certain terrorist acts – at any rate, terrorist propaganda – and prosecuting those men and women who are involved in those attacks or attempted attacks.
Our wish is clearly, in addition to this shared commitment, to galvanize all the G7 countries – in the next few weeks our interior ministers will be having a meeting to this end – to go even further, with the United States of America in particular, which has spoken very powerfully on this issue – as President Trump recalled in Taormina – and be able to take action together.
Clearly, this initiative is open to all our European Union partners – I’m thinking in particular of Germany, which has constantly shown its desire to work extremely closely with us on all these issues.
It’s in this framework that the action plan is set to be continued. But from now on, it must give rise to concrete actions and commitments and achieve things quickly.
This challenge of fighting terrorism is a major one. But it mustn’t overshadow our other challenges. So we discussed our cooperation on the economy, migration and defence, an agenda on which we’ll continue working actively together, with a new defence summit to be held in Britain between now and the end of the year.
Finally, the negotiations on Brexit are continuing – I’ll let Theresa May talk about them – but with a clear method as far as I’m concerned. I’d like the negotiations on withdrawal from the EU, then on future relations with the UK, to get going as quickly as possible and be conducted in a coordinated way by the European Commission.
That’s what I can tell you. Lastly, in addition to all these issues, we obviously reiterated our determination to fight battles for the future together: the digital revolution, the defence of our values, particularly freedom in the world, and finally the fight against climate change, where our two countries are constantly side by side.
So I thank Theresa May again for being here, so soon after the election in her country. I welcome these different issues, on which we have a lot to do together. In a few moments’ time, our teams will be playing together, in a sport where, sadly, someone ultimately has to win. So perhaps we’ll have a few slight disagreements then. But we won’t show it, because they’re very minor compared to all the rest."