MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –
JOHN F.W. ROGERS: Hi everyone, I’m John Rogers, President of the Atlantic Council. Despite the obligation to hold this meeting remotely due to the pandemic, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to this exceptional event. I have the privilege of opening the official inauguration of the Atlantic Council’s Center for Europe by welcoming a special guest who does us the honor of being present, H.E. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic. I was fortunate enough to get to know him at a state dinner at the White House in April 2018. It is clear that things have changed a lot since then.
As you know, the relationship with Europe is at the heart of the historic mission of the Atlantic Council, which seeks to shape our common future by addressing global issues and issues that concern us all, in close connection with our closest strategic allies. As the year 2021 begins, it is already making history in that it will mark the 60th anniversary of the Atlantic Council, and is part of a historic period where all countries and societies in the world are simultaneously facing a health crisis, an economic crisis, and even in some cases an identity crisis, all the while having to face considerable technological upheavals, climate-related imperatives and increasingly asserting strategic competitors, such as the China or Russia.
In this context, I think everyone will agree with us that we have reached a tipping point conducive to transformation; Now is the time for members of the transatlantic community to step forward and once again help shape the future international order. So, within the Atlantic Council, we want to play our full part in these efforts. Our Europe program has grown rapidly in recent years, under the leadership of Benjamin Haddad. This is also why we are redoubling our efforts in Europe this year with the creation of a new center. I would like to congratulate Benjamin and his entire team for what they have accomplished in a short period of time and thank them in advance for their efforts to come.
At a time when leaders are so badly needed to be instigators of change, one of them has established himself as a bold and innovative voice in Europe. I mean of course President Macron, who does us the honor to be with us today. Mr President, you have carried out courageous reforms in France and you have championed an ambitious program for Europe on the international stage. On the occasion of our exchange today, we all sincerely wish, including the public at large, that you tell us about your vision of an influential European Union, a world power and an international partner of the United States, in caught up with the great challenges of this century.
I will stop there by thanking you again for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to Benjamin, Director of the Center Europe of the Atlantic Council, who will introduce and lead the interview with President Macron.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Thanks John. I am Benjamin Haddad. It is a great honor for me to be in Paris with you today, Mr. President, to inaugurate the Center Europe of the Atlantic Council.
Mr. President, it is no coincidence that we want to meet you today, at a key moment for transatlantic relations. We are in the midst of a pandemic, we are experiencing a global climate crisis, an economic crisis and we have to face a China which is increasingly asserting itself. This period requires more than ever a strong transatlantic link. The Atlantic Council wants to help defend this relationship, as we always have.
But we must move forward without obscuring the magnitude of the difficulties or regretting the past. The Center Europe therefore intends to plead for a strong, responsible and secure Europe, at the heart of this transatlantic partnership. With offices in Washington, Warsaw, Stockholm, Belgrade, a network of associate members across Europe, strategic partnerships with the Munich Security Conference, GLOBSEC, the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce in Greece, and many others to come, we will continue to make our voices heard, not so much as observers but as real agents of change.
This year, the European Union will be our priority. We will partner with the EU Delegation in Washington to launch a national campaign to relaunch the relationship between the EU and the United States, to explain to Americans what the European Union is and why a strong and united EU. is a matter of national interest to the United States. Mr President, you are playing a driving role in favor of the transformation of Europe so that it can assert itself more on the international stage as a sovereign Europe able to face these major challenges. That’s why we’re so happy to welcome you today. We have brought together several Americans and Europeans, from all walks of life and generations, to ask you questions about foreign policy, global economic issues, and also social issues, with which our countries are all confronted.
Here is a first question, Mr. President. Joe Biden was inducted as President two weeks ago. You spoke with him and you emphasized the need for consultation on common issues: from the post-COVID-19 global economic recovery, through the climate, China, the Middle East, the Sahel and the ‘Africa, Russia… Where to start?
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: thank you very much. First of all, thank you for being here and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your introduction and opening remarks. I’m very happy to introduce, in a way, the Center Europe. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on this ambitious project. I am deeply convinced that this organization, driven by your desire to build a new common program, plays a very essential role.
We will probably come back to a number of topics during the discussion, but for me the top priority in the relationship with the new US Administration and in the work between the US and Europe, is to achieve results-based multilateralism. . In recent years, we have worked hard to preserve the multilateral framework. All the questions you mentioned (the pandemic, the economic and social crisis, new inequalities, climate change, the challenges for democracy, etc.) require greater coordination of our actions. However, in recent years, we have witnessed a form of disintegration of existing multilateral frameworks and fora.
This is why the absolute priority is to rebuild this multilateralism, obviously by advocating a multilateralism in solidarity to be sure to be effective and precisely in solidarity, but also to achieve a multilateralism based on results, which means to achieve concrete results to provide solutions to the main difficulties, or at least to begin to provide solutions.
I consider that the very first days of this new Administration are crucial to orient oneself in this direction: the decision of President Biden to return to the WHO, as a contributor but also by participating in a multilateral forum working for global health. ; by also joining the “One World, One Health” initiative; by participating in our ACT-A initiative in favor not only of the African continent but also of all poor and emerging countries in the context of the pandemic. We will probably come back to this. To this must be added the commitment to invest at least 4 billion in this initiative. There is obviously also the decision to re-enter the Paris Agreement and join the circle of countries able to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. There will probably also be decisions about the World Trade Organization and so on.
This is a priority issue because if the main actor, the one responsible for guaranteeing the system as a last resort, leaves the ship, it is obviously a heavy blow to multilateralism. And those who come to take advantage of this situation are precisely the disruptors or those who are in a position to propose or promote another form of multilateralism, which is not based on our common values and does not constitute genuine or fair multilateralism.
The second key question, which is linked to the previous one, is: how can we, all together, be inventive? Because it is obvious that we will have to innovate in order to find solutions to new problems. How can we build new partnerships and build the “new consensus” of our globalized planet, as we called it here in Paris a few weeks ago?
We are facing a world where the fight against inequalities must be a priority. Inequality was already a major problem before the pandemic and it will be even more so in the post-COVID-19 period. We are also faced with weakened arms control regulations as a result of the decisions that have been taken. We will probably have to invent new forms of cooperation and new partnerships to deal with climate and biodiversity issues; this is what we have done in recent years with the “One Planet Summit” to preserve the Paris Agreement and to launch new initiatives in favor of biodiversity.
We need to be very innovative because this new type of partnership involves setting up new forms of cooperation between States, but also with private actors, NGOs and certain regional entities. And of course, faced with the digital challenges and the crises that our democracies are going through, we will have to forge a series of new partnerships in order to give real substance to this new consensus. For me, this is the second pillar of this essential relationship. And it is in this area that, in my opinion, the European Union and the United States are two major players, which must of course build together but also show great openness to other players who share our values, and more specifically, these new solutions in the current context.
And thirdly, I believe we need to play a much bigger role in regional crises and take a coherent approach to these crises. President Biden and I have spoken about some of these regional crises. But when we talk about the Middle East, Africa, the Indo-Pacific region, a concept that we have tried to put forward in recent years, we cannot leave aside the subject of the relationship between the United States and Europe, of our ability to act together and to preserve or restore peace and stability in some of these regions.
Some of them are part of the European neighborhood. Others are in key areas in the current context. Some of them can help to redefine the relationship between the European Union and China, and between the United States and China, in the years to come. And dealing with these regional crises highlights how the US administration wants to get involved again, as well as its priorities. For me, the fight against terrorism is a top priority, and the peace and stability of this part of the world is of the utmost importance. This raises the question of clarifying the role of NATO, we will no doubt come back to this, and existing partnerships in this context.
But enough on this subject, we will have an opportunity to come back to it later. In conclusion, these three pillars are, in my opinion, the foundations on which we must build the relationship with the new American administration.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: I would like to pick up on this last point with regard to the redefinition of the partnership. Since your election, Europe has been at the heart of your vision. You delivered a speech with great ambitions at the Sorbonne on European sovereignty and you carried out numerous initiatives at European level. What do you think will be the impact on the transatlantic relationship of this program for European sovereignty and strategic autonomy?
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: A very positive impact, I think. Why that ? Because I believe in the national fact, of course. Our democracies are based on the expression of our people at the national level. But if we consider the current context, in the face of all these changes and growing tensions, it is obvious that the European Union is a credible actor and that it is acting at the appropriate scale.
From the very start of my mandate, my objective has been to reinvent or restore real European sovereignty. Over the past decades, we have left space for a nationalist approach calling for more sovereignty at the national level. But true sovereignty, the ability to decide for ourselves, to make our own rules and regulations and to make our own choices, is relevant at European level. That’s why we have decided to have a common agenda for technology, defense, currency, economic and fiscal crisis response and many other areas. And this is how we gradually forged this concept of strategic autonomy.
It simply means that the European Union must be able to see itself as a suitable common entity, capable of making decisions on its own and of investing much more in key areas of its sovereignty, such as defense. This decision is not only compatible with NATO, but it is completely consistent. This is why I firmly believe that this dynamic and this decision to cooperate more on a European scale is completely, totally in the interests of the United States.
Why am I convinced of this? Because for the past several decades within NATO, the United States has in a way been solely responsible for our security. And as some of our leaders today and yesterday have expressed, the efforts are not being evenly distributed. It is true. And little by little, the relationship got perverted because, in a way, being part of NATO meant enjoying the protection of the US military and, in return, having access to contracts, providing contracts and buying American hardware, and I think it was a lose-lose approach for both European countries and the United States. Why ?
First of all, the presence of your soldiers, American soldiers in Europe and in our neighborhood, deployed on this scale without it corresponding to the defense of clear and direct interests, is not a sustainable approach. There comes a time when we need to take on much more responsibility for our neighborhood. The sustainability of decision-making in democratic societies was therefore at stake.
Second, Europe’s decision not to defend itself was, in my view, implicit and progressive. And I do not know of any existing political entity that does not ensure the protection of its people. If we wish to carry, promote and preserve the idea and reality of the European Union, the latter must be able to protect its people.
This is why strategic autonomy means in the first place that European actors have to invest much more for themselves. As far as I am concerned, I have decided to increase the budget devoted to our defense.
Then, to actively work together for common projects, to harmonize our organization and to develop new technologies and new common equipment. This is what we have done with Germany, Spain, Italy, and what we have also launched at European level.
Third, to put in place massive investment programs while further developing joint interventions with a common culture of intervention. This is what we put forward. I offered it on September 17 at the Sorbonne. And now, around ten countries are joining this European intervention initiative, which is a new concept. It is reflected in concrete examples, I mean in a new approach, for example in the Sahel, where we are cooperating with many more European countries within the framework of the Takuba Task Force, in order to better protect the Sahel countries. And I think this approach is entirely in the interest of the United States because it allows for more consultation and solidarity at the European level and a reinforced engagement of the European armed forces in different situations, which reduces the pressure on other NATO members, and therefore on the United States.
Of course, I wish to preserve the intense political coordination that exists with the United States in defining and shaping the political concept of NATO. I also want to preserve the interoperability of our armed forces because the effectiveness of our interventions everywhere in the world is enhanced. With the United States and the United Kingdom, we decided in spring 2018 to establish a unique cooperation to fight against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. NATO has made our interoperability possible. In the weeks and months to come, we will experience some crucial moments because I believe that, based on the reports requested after the harsh words I had at the end of 2019, NATO is in a phase of clarification. The new concepts must be clarified and we must clearly express what we want.
Who is the enemy? Initially, NATO was created to fight against the USSR. And now who is the enemy? Who are the terrorists and the main enemies of our societies?
How to tackle the new issues related to the Pacific, to China: the question arises. This is a subject that no one dares to broach. However, we have to talk about it very openly. My wish is to adopt a political approach to this subject because I want to live in a stable and peaceful world. But it does mean that we must manage to speak to each other frankly and openly, sometimes expressing differing opinions. However, I think we have to face this problem.
Third, respect a clear code of conduct between the Member States. We will probably come back to that, but how can you talk about partnership, as NATO members, when a partner like Turkey behaves the way it did in 2019 and 2020. I seem to see changes. , I am happy about it, and I would like to welcome President Erdogan’s recent statement, but both the United States and Europe have encountered incredible aggressiveness in various theaters of operations over the past two years. And I think it is absolutely essential to clarify what should be a solidarity attitude and good behavior in this context.
All this is possible because Europe is well organized, more efficiently, and precisely because we are advancing on this concept of sovereignty and strategic autonomy.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: I know we will be discussing these topics with our guests. I turn to the first of them, Ms. Esther Brimmer, Administrator and Chief Executive Officer of NAFSA. Ms. Brimmer is a member of the board of directors of the Atlantic Council and has served as Deputy Secretary of State for International Organizations. I know she would like to talk about the common values that underpin our democracies.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
Mr President, our two countries are republics. We are the heirs of the Enlightenment and the great revolutions of the 18th century. However, on January 6, a violent crowd invaded these beautiful rectilinear avenues designed by L’Enfant for our capital. Congress has been invaded and our elected representatives threatened. In 2018, the Arc de Triomphe was damaged during a demonstration in Paris. Xenophobia and violence no longer lurk only on the confines of politics, they have invested it. Mr. Speaker, where is liberal democracy today?
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you for asking me this question. I am not sure that I am totally in a position to give a complete and exhaustive answer to it, but I can give you my point of view, because I think that the two examples you give are probably among the most representative of the times that we let us live in two strong and old democracies, united by great solidarity and close ties of friendship.
Listen, first of all I think that violence, hatred and xenophobia are back in our societies and that this is a recent trend. Some political groups stir them up and legitimize them. For me, this is a major anthropological change.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about it in more detail, but in my opinion the fundamental contract in democracy is that citizens can choose who leads them. They elect him. They elect the people who will write the laws. They have the freedom of expression and demonstration. But in return, everyone must respect each other. You have to accept that some people do not agree with you and that violence is prohibited. And it seems that certain political speeches have restored to violence a legitimacy in our societies, by claiming that in order to respond to violence, in quotes, economic or social institutions, the fact of taking to the streets and killing, injuring or to destroy was legitimate.
Suddenly, the violence reappears, as it gradually faded, and takes the forms you spoke of. This trend worries me very much because it threatens our democracies, and many people consider it unacceptable. How to end it? People like you and me on the streets expect us to stop this violence because they don’t think it’s okay, but it’s very difficult when a lot of other people feel it is. legitimate. And that’s exactly what many of our democracies are going through.
I am deeply convinced that social networks play an important role in this evolution, which, I repeat, is anthropological, because they have legitimized a certain disinhibition in the discourse. I mean they fostered a culture of aggression and conflict and, in my opinion, this has gradually changed the very nature of democratic debate. This is the reason why we must address these issues if we are to preserve our democracies.
You know, we have made a lot of progress in the last three or four years in the fight against terrorism on social media and international platforms. I remember it started here with the question of terrorism. After the terrorist attacks of July 2017, we launched an initiative, before promoting it within the United Nations. At the very beginning, many voices were raised in the name of freedom of expression, which by the way is constitutive of our culture, against the regulation of our social networks aimed at combating terrorist content. A few months later, there was a terrorist attack in Christchurch and, again and again here, we launched the Christchurch Appeal with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other leaders. We have obtained a decisive commitment from the main American social networks and platforms, that of removing any terrorist content identified by the platform, social networks and our services within one hour. And, I can assure you, they did. They are very effective and have helped us a lot, and a few weeks ago we passed European-wide legislation with the same objective.
What we have done to fight terrorist attacks, we must also do to fight hate speech, xenophobia and many other problems on social media. The only way to preserve our democracies is to restore public and democratic order in this new space for reflection and life, which is home to more and more activities due to the pandemic. This new regulation, I could even say this new governance, must be democratic and be the subject of discussions between our political leaders. I think that is very important, that it is even one of the key issues of our time.
You know, I mentioned these initiatives that we have successfully launched, but we need to strengthen our efforts. You mentioned the very violent images filmed at the Congress, and I must say that we were extremely shocked here in Paris. And I expressed my friendship, my solidarity and my confidence in the strength of your democracy.
But at the same time, we were also very disturbed because a few hours later all the platforms – and let me be very politically incorrect – but these same platforms that had sometimes helped President Trump encourage these same protests of so effectively a few hours ago, the very second they were sure he was no longer in power, suddenly cut the mic and disabled all platforms he and his supporters had the ability to sidestep. ‘Express. Okay, in the very short term it was the only effective response, but it was not a democratic response. I don’t want to live in a democracy where the key decisions, where the decision to cut the microphone, to make sure that you are no longer able to speak because of the nature of your speech, where those decisions are made by a private actor, through a private social network. I want them to be made under a law passed by our representatives or regulations, governance, democratically debated and approved by democratic leaders.
This is a decisive question if we want to stop this, because 2018 in France and 2021 in the United States have revealed a new violence of our democracies, largely linked to these social networks and, basically, to our new fashion. of life.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Now let’s move on to some common foreign policy issues that we are facing. I will take the questions two by two, because we have a lot of questions for you, Mr. President.
I give the floor first to Dr. Adam Tooze in New York. He is a professor at Columbia University, director of the European Institute, and has written a book on the financial crisis. Dr. Tooze, first, and then I’ll turn to Prof. Joseph Nye at Harvard.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Good morning.
QUESTION: Mr. President, good morning, it is an honor to be here.
I would like to ask you, in a little more depth, this idea of results-oriented multilateralism, because I believe there is an urgent need to focus on this approach. We obviously have to adapt to the issue of legitimacy through results, adopted for example within the Chinese regime, but it is also a harsh and difficult criterion to measure. It is not enough to show that you did it right. You really have to deliver results.
And the particular question I’m thinking of is one of the most important that Europeans have in mind right now, is the question of the vaccine, the question of how we can look at our experience with the vaccine as a goal, project, model, but also as a warning on how we should proceed from here on out. Because this is a two-sided question. It is, on the one hand, an immense success of the human efforts carried out in collaboration, on both sides of the Atlantic, but on the other hand, this question apparently takes the dimensions of a tragic failure. , that of our inability, on a global scale, to ensure an equitable distribution of the vaccine, or if only prudent, in order to then be able to provide it in a legitimate and credible manner, even to well-off populations. ‘Europe.
So I would like to hear your thoughts on the current situation and on how we might achieve a truly results-oriented multilateralism on this critical issue of biosafety through vaccine technology.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: I now give the floor to Professor Nye, former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, member of the Board of Trustees of the Atlantic Council.
QUESTION: Mr. Chairman, I would like to follow up on your comments on China. As you know, many economists believe that by the end of this decade, the Chinese economy will have overtaken the US economy. At that point, how should Europe and France react?
Some European leaders suggest that Europe should find an equidistant position between the United States and China. Others say that on the contrary, considering the internal characteristics of China and the Chinese economy, if China achieves a dominant position by international standards when it is a society based on surveillance, it will harm our democracies; for them, our democracies should instead set up a “T-12”, a group of technological countries that will have special trade arrangements and set standards to avoid being exploited by Chinese companies or by Chinese standards in areas like surveillance, artificial intelligence and big data; in other words, equidistance would be a huge mistake. It is not just about finding a balance between two great powers. It is about preserving democracy.
Europe is therefore faced with important choices. Could you tell us how you see this, from the French point of view, and from the European point of view?
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much for these two questions, which I can easily answer.
I will start by answering Dr. Tooze’s question, on how to illustrate results-based multilateralism. On the issue of vaccines, I believe that COVID-19 is indeed a very interesting topic to think about how to achieve results through multilateralism. And on purpose, I’m not just thinking in terms of vaccines, because I believe the issue is the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences.
I am thinking first of all, at the level of the G20, of the launch in March 2020 of the ACT-A initiative, then led by European leaders, but in common construction and work with African leaders; this is exactly how I see this new type of partnership. We have developed a strategy in which the management of the COVID-19 crisis involved helping African countries to preserve their primary health system, treat their populations and cope with the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Because at the moment, Africa faces economic and social consequences, far more than health consequences, due to the structure of its population, and possibly other important characteristics of African societies.
We launched this strategy and we have achieved initial results. We have set up a common organization, the ACT-A initiative, joint management with African leaders and the African Union, as well as the COVAX vaccine initiative.
If you look at the last few months, I agree with you, China has probably managed to convince some countries with its vaccine diplomacy. The Chinese achieved results very effectively, in reaction to this first joint initiative of the G20 and the African Union, simply because they were in a position to produce a vaccine. Recently, China has been less affected by the pandemic than the United States or the European Union, and it has made sure to be able to deliver many doses to some countries, in the Western Balkans, in the Gulf , and in Africa, in volumes that we do not fully know, but this clearly represents a diplomatic success.
And that could give the idea that China’s action is more effective than the multilateral strategy we pursued a few months ago. But I believe in the long term, if we have a holistic and coordinated approach, we can be more effective. And this is the idea that I want to defend. Because it is true, in the very short term we can be impressed by Chinese efficiency. It’s a bit humiliating for the leaders that we are, perhaps for our countries as well. A few days ago I received a note entitled: “No need to go to African or poor countries”. The Serbian president was there. To be very honest with you, he got access to vaccines through his cooperation with China. “The Chinese are more efficient than your joint teams in the European Union at developing vaccines, my friends,” he said bluntly and sincerely.
But what we are observing is, I believe, much more complicated. The response, especially for poor and emerging countries, is more complex than it seems. First, treating the virus with a vaccine requires making sure you have the right vaccine, a vaccine that is relevant to dealing with different variants, and having shared and transparent information. And I think it is precisely at this point in the crisis that WHO must play a crucial role. I will have the opportunity next week to speak with Dr. Tedros. But the role of the WHO is to be able to assess, by cooperating with the various national and regional organizations, the efficacy and possible toxicity of the various vaccines against the initial strain of COVID and against its variants. .
At present, we only have data on American vaccines, European vaccines, and partnerships between different actors. It looks like we can get more information on Russian vaccines from yesterday’s issue of The Lancet, and about initiatives to be identified at European level. I have absolutely no information about the Chinese vaccine. I will not comment, but it is the reality. This means that in the medium and long term, if this vaccine is not suitable, it is almost certain that it will facilitate the emergence of new variants and will absolutely not solve the situation in these countries. Brazil is arguably a good example of what can happen, with the situation in Manaus, where already infected people and others vaccinated have contracted a new form of COVID-19.
So I think we can provide the best possible scientific data, according to our criteria. By that I mean transparent, relevant scientific data controlled by the best researchers in the world. At this point, this is not the case for the Chinese vaccine. And I would be very happy if China could come up with a similar device. So for me, in the current situation, short-term effectiveness could be detrimental to medium-term effectiveness. So much for the vaccine.
But beyond that, I think our ACT-A initiative, which I want to promote, is exactly the new type of partnership where we can achieve collective results much faster, because we put ourselves in position. to provide vaccines to poor and emerging countries. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are not relevant for these countries, due to their main characteristics, especially with regard to temperature and logistical requirements. But those from Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, perhaps Sanofi and others like Novavax could be much more suitable. If we pool our funding and our efforts, we can provide these countries in the weeks and months to come with a number of doses that cannot be compared to those delivered by China. This is the first thing.
Second, our system provides for treatments, because it is possible, with appropriate treatments, to prevent certain serious forms in many people. When it comes to testing, it’s simply impossible to fight a pandemic if you don’t have a testing strategy. This means that in addition to our multilateral approach, the ACT-A initiative, which I think is best for this, you have to work directly with governments and help them strengthen their primary health care systems. If you do not have facilities, doctors, nurses, etc., it is impossible to carry out a vaccination campaign. We know this perfectly well in our countries, and it is the same in Africa or in Latin America.
And therefore, the fact that we have a much more global, united approach, open to all, and moreover including China, and united towards the countries in which the pandemic could be very severe, namely the countries Africa and Latin America is precisely the most effective way to achieve results. What is at stake now, to repeat what you were saying, is firstly, the commitment of WHO to be completely transparent and to apply common standards, because one of the weak points of results-based multilateralism is the risk of having a “double standards” approach. If there are two countries, a rich and a poor, which act according to different standards, without being transparent, that weakens the system. So we need WHO.
Second, there needs to be more commitment from countries. And the recent US decision on the subject of the ACT-A initiative and COVAX is decisive. Third, you have to have the capacity for implementation, involving all emerging and poor countries, and having this comprehensive strategy that I spoke about. For me, it is time to achieve results by being very pragmatic. And it’s time to get on with it. You will have a perfect and complete answer to your question, Adam, over the next few weeks and months, if we achieve results in our own countries and if we are successful in organizing major campaigns in emerging and poor countries through to our COVAX initiative to provide vaccines, but more broadly thanks to the overall strategy of the ACT-A initiative that we launched together. But once again, the fact that we are more demanding and take a more holistic approach is definitely a strength.
To answer your question, Professor Nye, about China. I would say first of all that we see China as both a partner, a competitor and a systemic rival. This means that she is a partner in dealing with certain global issues. For example, on the issue of climate change, China is a partner. It has made commitments, it is changing the system, it is working to reduce its CO2 emissions. And I must say that in recent years it has established a successful carbon market. She made clear commitments and got results. But when it comes to trade and industry, China is a competitor. And it is a systemic rival, given its ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region and its values, on the issue of human rights.
So the question is how to reconcile these different priorities and how to approach what you mentioned. For me there are two different scenarios, which should be excluded. The first would be to put ourselves in a position to ally ourselves against China. This scenario is the most confrontational there is. For me, it is counterproductive, because it would encourage China to strengthen its regional strategy and reduce its cooperation on the various priorities. And I believe it would be damaging to all of us.
A second scenario for the European Union, inadmissible, would be to assert ourselves as a clear partner of China, which would put us at an equal distance from China and the United States. This would be absurd since we are in no way a systemic competitor for the United States. Indeed, we share common values and a common history, and must also face the challenges of our democracies and what has just been mentioned. The question that arises for us is how to achieve cooperation on certain issues and become a key player that will encourage China to honor its commitments.
Impossible to know what the future holds. Truth be told, the coming semesters will undoubtedly be decisive for China and its leaders, the country and its government. China has decided to join the multilateral framework, namely WHO and the World Trade Organization, among others. As the United States re-engages, what will China’s reaction be?
I think we should strive to work together in good faith. This is why I will ask that a summit in P5 format be organized in the coming months in order to re-establish a certain convergence of views between the five permanent members of the Security Council and to restore the effectiveness of this collapsing forum. free in recent years.
Second, I think we need to get China to embark on a bold and effective climate agenda. Furthermore, it seems to me that the re-engagement of the United States offers a good opportunity to start a proactive discussion on this matter. The Glasgow Conference at the end of the year will obviously address the issue. In addition, it will take place almost at the same time as the Chinese COP on biodiversity.
Third, we now need a global initiative on trade, industry and intellectual property. In this regard, I think the divergence between the United States and the European Union over the past few years has been totally counterproductive. It seems to me that we should revive the discussion, at the level of the WTO of course, but also of the OECD, since as members we are in dialogue with China. We could also introduce new forms of discussion to resolve the issue of intellectual property, as essential as that of market access, with the aim of establishing a new era of standardization and transparency.
Finally, fourthly, there is the question of human rights. On this point, it seems to me necessary to exert pressure, to be very clear and to find a way to renew our commitment on certain fundamental points. In this regard, I regard the investment agreement signed at the end of last year between the European Union and China as a favorable opportunity.
Let’s be honest, this agreement is neither particularly large nor a factor of change, neither for China nor for the European Union. It certainly has positive and significant elements, addresses certain issues relating to investment and market access, but, let’s be clear, it does not address the issue of intellectual property. However, for the first time ever, China has agreed to engage with ILO standards, including on labor issues that touch on human rights. I find this attitude very interesting, because it allows to assess the relevance of such a discussion.
As you can see, I tried to distinguish these different dimensions. In my opinion, our dialogue with China allows us to establish an effective strategy; it is in the collective interest to make this happen, because we tackle global issues while avoiding what I would call controversial approaches. While our goals are obviously very ambitious, especially when it comes to the economy, I think it’s in everyone’s interest to reduce conflict, but I don’t have the final solution. With regard to human rights, a very complex issue, the pressure must be increased, frank discussions and renewed dialogue on certain specific issues.
To achieve this in the months and years to come and in the long term, we must of course preserve our strategic autonomy and our ability to negotiate in good faith, for the United States, but also for the European Union itself. You also quite rightly mentioned it.
When it comes to technology, artificial intelligence and initiatives in this area (the issue of space will also be crucial), we must be able to cooperate if we want to. However, we must at all costs avoid depending entirely on China, but also on the United States, not for reasons of equivalent distance, but because I do not wish to depend entirely on American decisions. Otherwise, I will no longer be able to take decisions in the interests of the European continent itself.
That’s why I launched a 5G initiative a year and a half ago in order to have a 100% European solution. With this in mind, we have also restricted the French solutions. In addition, I have decided to defend this initiative in bilateral discussions with China. I am very happy to note that in March 2020, the European Commission introduced its own standards for 5G, for the supervision of our platforms and for the regulation of artificial intelligence.
In addition, I think we can cooperate much more thanks to the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence, which was launched a few semesters ago at the G7. I hope the United States will join this initiative. Developed in concert with Canada, it allows us to work collectively without any dependence on technical decisions and thus establish common democratic governance on the issue of artificial intelligence. Preserving European solutions and our decision-making capacity is the sine qua non of any discussion with China on this subject.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: I now turn to our next two guests. First, Sophia Besch from Berlin, research fellow at the Center for European Reform and research director at the Atlantic Council. Then Rachel Rizzo from Washington D.C., director of programs for the Truman National Security Project.
QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you for granting us this interview. I am delighted to participate in such an event.
I would like to come back to strategic autonomy and the role of NATO. In the eyes of some European states, the election of President Joe Biden relegates the Union’s strategic defense autonomy to the background. For them, essential arguments in favor of this autonomy were the political weakness of NATO in recent years, the lack of strategic harmonization and coordination between the United States and Europe, or between Turkey and others. allies, for example. While Turkey’s case remains in abeyance, the new US administration places the restoration of alliances, like NATO, at the center of its foreign policy.
So how can we ensure the success of this transatlantic realignment without compromising European ambitions in the area of defense? And how can NATO effectively contribute to your vision of European strategic autonomy?
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Rachel Rizzo.
QUESTION: Thanks, Ben. It is an honor to participate in this exchange today.
Mr. President, let me refer to the case of Russia. Earlier this week, a Moscow court sentenced opposition figure Alexei Navalny to more than two years in prison. Over the past two weekends, thousands of Russians have taken to the streets to protest his arrest. Following this conviction, the demonstrations will most certainly continue.
While sanctions have now been taken against Russia, you have also encouraged continued dialogue with Moscow. In what areas of common interest can Europe and the Biden administration work together to define a common policy towards Russia?
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I think you are right. Some leaders, some European players, might think that bringing the action program back into line with the new American administration risks weakening our strategic autonomy or at least reducing, in a certain way, the relevance of such action. strategy.
However, I do not believe for a single moment that this is the case. As I tried to explain at the beginning of our discussion, I think that the more Europe invests in defending, supporting and participating in the protection of its neighborhood, the more the United States will benefit from it because it contributes to a better distribution of efforts. It remains to determine the nature of the coordination within NATO and to clarify our political project and our common objectives. Of course, the new administration will pave the way for a more cooperative approach. It’s a certainty. Let’s look at reality as it is. The Middle East and Africa are our neighbors. Not those in the United States. It’s a fact. I am only talking about geography. I remember what we said about Syria a few years ago: the fair and democratic decision of the United States administration was ultimately not to respond to the use of chemical weapons with a military operation and an attack. However, this decision deprived Europeans of their ability to act on their own. I think NATO’s credibility suffered and the Europeans themselves were weakened because the stakes were not in a very distant region. In 2013, we spoke of Syria to designate the place where the terrorist attacks carried out in Paris in November 2015 were prepared. I am therefore talking about my own security.
It is for this reason that Europeans must understand the need for cooperation, interoperability and very close collaboration with the United States. But it is absolutely not about putting us in a position of dependence on the decisions of the United States. Indeed, any democratic decision taken by this country could be motivated by national considerations, by domestic politics and, of course, to a certain extent, by the interests of the country itself, and could therefore differ from that favored by the country itself. ‘Europe, particularly with regard to our neighboring countries. This is how I want to explain our strategic autonomy. And I would say that for one side as for the other, this approach is the right one and that it preserves our respective interests.
It is about shedding a strong mentality in Europe, which stems from the concept of the absence of European defense, built over decades. In many countries, after World War II, we created a system, a mentality, almost a DNA, where it was essential not to stand out clearly and not to have to make decisions yourself. We are now entering a new period where we must be able to prepare and support our European defense. However, I want to stress the need for close cooperation with the United States. As far as Turkey is concerned, the situation in which it has placed Europe and the United States is aberrant. I would say that the lack of regulation by NATO, of intervention to stop the escalation, has hurt us all. I would like to remind you that two years ago Turkey launched an operation in northeastern Syria without any coordination with NATO, the United States or France. At that time, our troops were deployed on the ground, because the coalition, led by the United States, with the support of NATO, was in Syria.
This operation launched by Turkey was motivated by national considerations, which amounted to saying: “The Syrian Democratic Forces represent a terrorist threat for me, because they are linked to the PKK. “For some of them, that’s correct. But Turkey has de facto launched military operations in a region where the coalition was located and against our intermediaries. The soldiers of the United States, the soldiers of France and all of our other soldiers fought Daesh on the ground alongside them. Suddenly, one of our members declared that they were terrorists and that they should be killed. That’s exactly what happened. NATO, the United States and France have lost all credibility in the region. How can you be trusted if you act like this without any coordination? However, the operations carried out by Turkey were made possible by the decision of the United States, implicit then explicit, to withdraw from Syria. After Libya, in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey has systematically adopted hostile behavior towards its various partners, Europe and NATO members, with the desire to frame the situation with Russia.
That’s why I said NATO was brain dead. Indeed, what is the concept? Who is the enemy? What are the rules of the game in an organization where you are meant to be allies, but where such behavior is tolerated? In 2020, we stepped up the pressure and got results. The coming months will be decisive. I enthusiastically welcome President Erdogan’s recent statements: I think they are largely due to our European achievements and the re-engagement of the new US administration, much more in line with the traditional approach. NATO, that is, with a normal and demanding approach. I sincerely welcome it.
I hope that we will obtain results, which will then be concrete proof of our effectiveness. Thus, it would be advisable to settle the situation in Libya, to remove the Turkish troops from Libya, to obtain the departure of the thousands of jihadists sent from Syria to Libya by Turkey itself (in total violation with the conference of Berlin), to settle the Syrian question with the rest of the coalition and, I hope, to resolve the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and to ease the pressure in the Eastern Mediterranean, when the situation seems more favorable.
Thus, I think it is essential that in the coming months, the United States, Europe and a few other members carefully study the reports which were recently provided to us by the experts appointed a year ago to clarify the new concepts. Like I said, who is the enemy? Is my enemy Daesh, for example? Not necessarily, these small groups, and so on? How to regulate the situation? How to identify the enemy to legitimize any external intervention? What code, what rules should be established between the Member States? We have well-defined rules regarding the solidarity that an attacked state can benefit from.
However, we do not have an authority to regulate interventions in some countries, where new interests may come into play and where an operation launched by another Member State is counterproductive. When we talk about the Mediterranean Sea or the Middle East, we are talking about our neighbors. Turkey’s intervention has real consequences for us. Thus, I am convinced that strategic autonomy is still of great importance and that the realignment and re-engagement of the United States in NATO is necessary for these clarifications and the reaffirmation of NATO not as a superstructure coordinating our armed forces, but as a political body allowing us to harmonize our choices and coordinate our policies.
As far as Russia is concerned, I completely share your point of view on Mr Navalny. I affirmed yesterday my total disagreement with this Russian decision to convict someone for the simple reason that he did not respect his judicial review in Russia because he was being treated in Berlin. I think this decision is the most obvious expression of a form of irony and disrespect towards Mr. Navalny and the world. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake, especially for the stability of the country. Mr. Navalny’s case is very serious. We have decided on certain sanctions. I regret and strongly condemn these decisions.
Having said that, there is also the question of the situation in Ukraine, for which justified sanctions and a process were designed in Minsk in Normandy format. In December 2019, we made slight progress on this issue. We are working hard to continue on this path. But in such a context, why did I decide to resume part of the discussions with Russia? I am in favor of a permanent dialogue.
I think you have to take into account the historical and geographic dimensions. Russia is part of Europe in both ways. It seems essential to me, whatever happens, to include Russia in this horizon, in this large part of the world. First, obviously, the story of President Putin and many leaders is fully embedded in European history. They have common values, history, literature, culture, mentality. And we have to take it into account. Second, there is the geographic dimension. Peace and stability in Europe, especially at our borders today, depend on our ability to negotiate with Russia. For various reasons, in particular Russia’s aggressiveness and NATO’s expansion, we have pushed our borders as far as possible to the east, but have failed to reduce conflicts and threats there.
I believe that our goal for the years and decades to come is precisely to find a common way to debate and build peace and security across the continent. This requires a dialogue on cyber attacks, and of course on all types of attacks, and on our approach to vulnerable countries in the very sensitive area where Ukraine and Belarus are located. We need to engage in a political discussion with Russia on this matter. Otherwise, there will be our will to protect on one side and a will to conquer and dominate on the other. However, if we look at the strategies implemented with Ukraine in the past, with Belarus today and with many countries, the results are not there. We must therefore recreate a framework for discussion for the countries located in this part of our continent.
Second, with regard to arms control, it is imperative that we discuss with Russia the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces. Today, Europe is no longer protected against these Russian missiles. Given the legal framework of the FNI treaty, we were not perfectly protected, especially in Poland, but our discussions and our organization in matters of arms control were framed in a way that was reminiscent of the Cold War, through a dialogue between the United States and Russia. As a European, I want to open a discussion between the European Union and Russia. I am aware and convinced that we need the United States, and certainly China, which is essential for the United States’ strategy, but first of all we need to engage in a wider dialogue on the agreements and treaties on arms control to tackle, monitor and reduce conflicts around the world. However, the security of the European continent undeniably depends on a dialogue between Russia and the EU on this subject. This goal cannot be achieved without the creation of the right conditions and the opening of a dialogue.
Finally, there is the question of our neighborhood. In the Middle East, whether at the NATO or UN level, we have seen a loss of collective credibility in recent years, because we decided not to intervene, while they intervened or sent groups acting by proxy, and coped very well with this gray area. It is precisely this new type of war that has enabled them to become more effective. However, Europeans as well as Americans, today we have almost disappeared and are therefore not in a position to define an international or multilateral framework in this area. If we want to re-engage, we must re-establish dialogue with Russia. You asked me for examples of critical situations due to an interruption in the dialogue, such as those in Ukraine or Mr. Navalny, which are extremely important and where we must show firmness with great solidarity. But beyond these considerations, we need a comprehensive dialogue.
Having said that, I remain extremely lucid. In the very short term, our chances of achieving concrete results are very limited. I am lucid. But our duty is to preserve or re-establish these avenues of dialogue, not to take the responsibility of ceasing the dialogue on our side and to constantly renew the discussion.
In my experience, including with the current leadership of Russia, the more you renew the dialogue, the better you are able to exert the right pressure to avoid any drift. On the contrary, if you remain closed and do not discuss certain issues, you are leaving a door open for action. Thus, by setting limits, you establish your credibility, as we did for example with our military operation in Syria, in 2018. Of course, the fact of constantly re-engaging in dialogue only gives limited results, but it allows at least to avoid greater differences of opinion. It will take several years, maybe even decades, but we need to build such a dialogue to ensure peace and stability in Europe.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I will take two final questions before I let our chairman and CEO Fred Kempe wrap up the session, calling Fred Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx first, then Monique Dorsainvil, former member of the Obama administration and Millennium Leadership Fellow of the Atlantic Council. First, Fred Smith.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Good morning.
QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. President. As you know, since the end of World War II, trade liberalization has played a major role in enhancing the prosperity that we all enjoy today. However, the expansion of transatlantic trade was of paramount importance. So, how do you plan to improve and strengthen trade relations between Europe and the United States?
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Thank you, Monique.
QUESTION: Thank you, Ben. I would like to talk about Generation Y and Generation Z. In today’s social and political contexts, the entire young generation, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is suffering the economic consequences of ” graduate and seek employment during a recession. These young people have witnessed the rise of populism and wars, in their countries and elsewhere, so my question is: what do you say to these young people around the world, many of whom are isolated at home, grappling with all these issues, but who continue to persevere and redouble their creativity every day to innovate and stay in touch with those around them?
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, thank you, Fred. I agree with you that trade liberalization has increased growth and opened up many opportunities. It was a hugely effective strategy to reduce poverty in many areas. However, today we are in a quite different situation and we owe it to ourselves to develop a broader agenda. First, of course, we have to, and will have to once COVID-19 is behind us. , resume certain exchanges, which have lost in speed and stability. And I think the priority is to preserve and improve market access as well as our ability to provide opportunities and to organize our commerce and industries effectively. We have to take climate change into account, as I said, and find solutions to reduce our carbon footprint, which means rethinking our logistics and bringing production closer to the end market. This is a very important point. The second aspect is the issue of inequalities, which I would like to emphasize. The liberalization of our trade was mainly consumer oriented and aimed at reducing the price of different products and goods. However, it has caused the disappearance of many jobs in our society, it is a reality. We have reduced poverty in poor and emerging countries, but deepened inequalities in our societies, which is part of the democratic crisis we are experiencing. I come back to the question you asked me about the democratic crisis. I focused my answer on violence and hatred, but inequalities also play a crucial role in this process, as they legitimize the rise of violence, so any business strategy must take into account the issue of inequalities in our society. . To be quite frank, today I believe in multi-party commerce, which involves consumers, workers, stakeholders and citizens in order to reconcile issues related to the economy, climate and inequalities. This also explains why I do not want any regional trade agreement to be signed with any country or region that does not respect the Paris Agreement. However, we also need to assess the pros and cons of such a strategy.
All of this needs to be given careful thought. But even more, in the months and years to come, we must all work actively together to develop a common strategy at the WTO, the ILO and the IMF, which is in line with our multilateral regulations in climate change and biodiversity. Only the harmonization of our different strategies will make it possible to build the strategy of openness and sustainable trade of tomorrow. Then, to answer the second question concerning the young generation, I fully share your concern and your desire to send them messages. I am convinced that this generation understands the importance of climate change much better than we do and is fully aware that the solution to providing clear and relevant answers to this question lies in the development of a global strategy based on Cooperation. These young people are those who are twenty years old in the midst of a pandemic. These are the students who, at the age of first love, are deprived of bars and restaurants and sometimes cannot even make it to school or university. This situation is deeply unfair, knowing that the confinements and other restrictions that we decide on are aimed at protecting our elders.
I will start by saying that young people fully understand the need for solidarity between the generations. However, what they want now, what they need, in my opinion, is not just to be part of a very organized world and to have the opportunity to earn money and live a life. normal life. In my opinion, they want to be part of the process of reinvention, they want to be able to recreate a new world. They want to play a real role in this recreation not just of a new government, but of the entire system and our ability to live together.
If I had a message to convey to this generation, it would first be this: thank you, really, because I know that the efforts that we ask of you, that we ask of your generation, are certainly the heaviest of all . Because it’s not just about protecting yourself and staying home, among other things. It’s about giving up, in essence, everything that makes life enjoyable at your age. And yet, you are making these efforts precisely because we have undoubtedly rediscovered, during this period, what solidarity and fraternity mean, because all generations have agreed to stop to protect part of the population. Because we have decided to put human life above economic interests and above all else.
Yet what we owe your generation is not a return to normalcy the day after. First of all, we must provide you with the opportunity to study during this time, so that you are clearly and fully aware of the active and important role you play in our fight against the virus and to help you implement new initiatives, during this period and in the future, to transform the world and to build what I called, at the beginning of this discussion, a new consensus. To help you innovate and offer new solutions.
Let’s be clear, I’m sure that our world, after this crisis, will first be a world in which human life, human dignity, is much more valuable than ever before. A world in which the fight against inequalities to achieve an ambitious and equitable health system will be much more intense. A world in which we will need to relaunch growth so that it benefits everyone much more. You have a role to play, because you are the innovating generation. When I talk about innovation, I am talking about technological innovation, but also sociological and structural innovation. This world is a world in which we can develop and design new solutions.
I would like to add that during this period, unthinkable has been done to fight the virus. Now, as the days go by, the unthinkable must be done and put in place in order to provide new solutions to climate change, to fight inequalities and to foster new growth that benefits everyone. I think our role and our duty, as political figures, is to give young people the opportunity to do this, ensuring that they can go to school or university, ensuring them the best possible post-crisis situation and, no doubt, by giving them the maximum possibilities and chances to contribute to the solution and to these innovations.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Mr. President, before giving the floor to Frederick Kempe, our President and CEO, to close this discussion, I would like to thank you very much for the extraordinary opportunity and for the ambitious goals that you have presented. I would also like to add that you have friends and partners within the Atlantic Council in the United States and Europe to help you realize these ambitions in the years to come.
Let’s go to Frederick, unless you want to say a word first.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: No, thank you very much. Thank you for giving me the floor. We have covered many topics and I apologize if my answers have been too long. We were obviously unable to discuss some key topics, which I mentioned very briefly at the start of our discussion.
We can discuss this again and in more depth, but it is evident that our conversation, our role and our new partnership with the United States will be of utmost importance in Africa. We mentioned COVID-19, obviously, the vaccine and our ACT-A initiative. As regards the Sahel, we are very invested and we have objectives that we are pursuing hand in hand with the United States. We need this commitment. I think that, in the months to come, our partnership with the United States in the Sahel, both in terms of security and development, will be absolutely essential.
We haven’t talked about Iran, which might surprise many people, but we had a very fruitful discussion about China and Russia. I will add, therefore, in a few words, that I welcome the desire to resume dialogue with Iran. This is a common issue for peace and security in the Middle East. I will do everything in my power to support any action taken by the United States to restore a demanding dialogue. I will be present and available, as I was two and a half years ago, to strive to be a dedicated and unbiased mediator in this dialogue. However, I firmly believe that we must indeed complete new negotiations with Iran. President Biden has a vital role to play in this matter. Firstly, because the country is now much closer to the nuclear bomb than it was before the signing of the Iranian nuclear agreement in July 2015. Secondly, because we also have to address the issues ballistic missiles and regime stability. This comprehensive agenda must be negotiated now, because the time is right. We also need to find a way to involve Saudi Arabia and Israel in these discussions, as they are key regional partners directly affected by the decisions taken, as are our other friends in the region, of course. However, it is impossible to resolve the situation without being sure that all these countries are satisfied with this new program. I will support and support any resumption of negotiations.
This is what I wanted to add. Thank you once again for this discussion and your questions, and once again welcome your decision to inaugurate this Atlantic Council Center for Europe.
BENJAMIN HADDAD: Thank you.
FREDERICK KEMPE: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. It was startling.
And thank you, Benjamin, for moderating this discussion. Congratulations, too, for the new Center for Europe.
Thank you, Mr. President, for helping us get this started. You have brilliantly described what, in your opinion, is at the heart of the relationship between the United States and Europe and you have described both the difficulties and the possibilities of our time: the violence and xenophobia that plague our democracies, vaccine diplomacy, issues concerning China, Turkey, Russia, the younger generation, trade, and finally Iran.
At the start of this discussion, you presented a three-pronged strategy for the relationship between the United States and Europe, starting with the reconstruction and strengthening of the multilateralism that we established together after World War II and which we has done so well for 75 years.
You then affirmed the need to establish new partnerships, in order to tackle new and future challenges with regard to climate, biodiversity and digital technology, partnerships at the heart of which are the European Union and the United States. .
Finally, you emphasized a new collaboration around essential regional issues: the Middle East, Africa, the Indo-Pacific region. Again, Europe and the United States are at the heart of this collaboration, but it will also be about working with China and involving the European Union and NATO. You also called for making the latter a political body to harmonize our choices.
You have outlined your ambitions for the European Union to become a leader and an influential global partner of the United States in responding to the greatest challenges of our century: now is the right time to get this message across. At the Atlantic Council, we believe we are at a crossroads, a historic turning point as important as the post-WWI and WWII periods. We know that at the time, the transatlantic relationship had been decisive, badly in the first case and good in the second.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for your helpful comments on the launch of our new center. To be honest, Mr. President, the Atlantic Council as a whole has been a center for Europe for 60 years. We have 14 programs and centers: regional centers on Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and sectoral centers that work on energy and climate issues, on technology, on the global economy and security. . In this sense, Mr President, the Atlantic Council is designed to advance precisely the ambitious and forward-looking transatlantic goals that you have presented to us today, as we work for a common cause regarding all the issues you raised.
Mr. President, you can count on the Atlantic Council and its global community of partners for a robust and effective Franco-American relationship, for the strengthening of actions carried out by the United States and the European Union, and, of course, as long-standing NATO allies.
Thank you also for concluding by sending a mobilizing message to the younger generation, with this wonderful post-COVID-19 statement: Life will be more valuable after the crisis. That’s a great end note.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman. As part of the upcoming special edition of the Atlantic Council at the Center for Europe, we will continue to consolidate these goals by hosting European Council President Charles Michel live on February 10 at 10:30 a.m. (UTC-5 ). We hope to see you all in a week. Thank you again, Mr President, Benjamin Haddad and all the staff of the new Center for Europe.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.