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Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 22:15 GMT
Franco-German leaders' statements
Excerpts by French and German leaders, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, at the joint session of parliaments in Versailles to mark the 40th anniversary of the two countries' friendship treaty.
Chancellor Schroeder said the friendship between France and Germany amounted to more than just a treaty - it was a unifying bond between two societies.
President Chirac told the parliamentarians that together they should respond to the challenges thrown up by the reshaping of the European landscape and balance.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
For the first time in the history of our two countries, the National Assembly and the Bundestag are holding a joint plenary session....
It is also an impressive sign of the substance of our relations, of a friendship that is much more than a pact among governments. It is a bond that links our societies and our peoples and those who represent them on both sides of the Rhine.
On European expansion
Franco-German friendship is no longer an end in itself today. It must constantly be newly defined and prove its value. This is all the more true because we are facing completely new challenges in our societies in Europe and the world. The peaceful revolutions of 1989 provided us with the opportunity but also with the obligation to create a unified Europe.
The historic success of the expansion summit in Copenhagen, which was essentially due to the joint proposals by Germany and France, this summit set the course for that. It would not have been possible without the determined preparations and the determined policy of the French president, to whom I would like to convey my great respect.
It is now up to us - again primarily to Germany and France - to shape this expansion process in a way that the EU becomes more democratic, more transparent, and more efficient, but that it also remains manageable politically after the expansion.
In the European Convention we proposed the creation of a European security and defence union, which will is also designed to strengthen the European pillar in the alliance.
Numerous German and French initiatives in reaction to new forms of threat, cross-border risks, organised crime, or international terrorism - many of these initiatives have met with a positive response. What we jointly call the expanded security concept, which includes a policy of legal protection, of social, material, and cultural but also ecological protection, is now being recognized worldwide as a useful strategy against the new risks.
On conflicts and security
What we propose in close cooperation and against the background of European experiences for the settlement of conflicts is increasingly being understood by the other partners in the world or is being brought closer to them.
Security through cooperation, through disarmament and the prevention of conflicts, through regional alliances for security, human rights and the rights of minorities - this is a policy of - as I want to call it - the peace dividend through economic cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen, the goal of a stronger European security identity is not directed against anybody. In this way we assume our responsibility for the stability of the continent, but we also offer our European experiences concerning peace and development to other peoples.
German and French soldiers are doing this side by side in Afghanistan, in the Balkans, and in other places. And we are cooperating side by side in the settlement of international crises - the North Korean or Iraqi crisis, for example.
We have agreed to cooperate particularly closely in the UN Security Council, where four European states are currently holding global responsibility for peace and international security.
This seems of fundamental importance to me, particularly in this difficult period. Jointly we want to ensure that the UN Security Council can really fulfil its central task of safeguarding international peace also in this conflict.
Statement by French President Jacques Chirac
It is also urgent that Europe asserts itself as an international player. It is now an example for all those who refuse the fatality of war.
Its dream is not a vain glory, about which illusions have been dispelled, but to use its power at the service of peace. It personifies an ambition for humanity, a Europe capable of acting, including in the military field, and which is necessary to the world's balance.
Armed with such a conviction, Germany and France have proposed to the European Convention the creation of a European Union of security and defence, which, in the face of risks and threats of all kinds, would provide for common security and solidarity in a constitutional treaty.
This union will also contribute to strengthening the European pillar of the [North Atlantic] Alliance, thus illustrating the complementary and compatibility of our commitments to the European Union and to the Atlantic Alliance.
Iraq and Afghanistan
The world is confronted with situations of crisis, alas, on all continents. I am of course thinking about Iraq. This is a major challenge. War is not inevitable. The only framework for a legitimate solution is that of the United Nations. France and Germany, successive holders of the presidency of the Security Council, are engaged in close and exemplary consultations to give peace all its chances.
I am also thinking about Afghanistan where our forces are involved, side by side, to contribute to the stability and security of this country and thus make its reconstruction possible.
Finally, this new Europe must establish with its new eastern neighbours and Mediterranean neighbours, in particular North Africa, relations of privileged partnership providing for their increased participation in our policies and real sharing in our cooperation...
Europe must represent a force for progress in the eyes of its citizens. In the big globalization move mentioned earlier by the chancellor, Europe is protecting them and is using all its influence to ensure that trade liberalization is controlled by rules.
It is in the name of ethic responsibility, that France and Germany are campaigning for a universal ban on human cloning. It is for the future generations that we are campaigning together for a world environment organisation.
We must promote together an economic and social model which is purely and specifically European, based on a balance between, on the one hand individual initiative and responsibility, and, on the other hand social security and national solidarity which is necessary.
Germans and French must continue their joint adventure. I have confidence in the future of Europe because I have confidence in the strength of the Franco-German relation. Signed 40 years ago, the Elysee treaty retains all its significance and force. It inspires us for our vision at the service of Europe.
BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
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