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Ladies and gentlemen, now that Prime Minister Johnson’s conference has come to an end, it is my job to present from France’s point of view the main conclusions of this Carbis Bay G7. Before anything else, I want to thank Prime Minister Johnson for organizing this G7 and, I think, for the results we obtained – and I’ll come back to them in a moment. I also want to thank Britain and the inhabitants of Cornwall for their hospitality; I know all the difficulties we can create when we travel during these periods, and so I thank them for their patience. I also want to thank Her Majesty The Queen and The Royal Family for the thoughtfulness they showed when they welcomed us the day before yesterday, coming to meet all the G7 members.
For me, there were three central issues in this G7 summit. The first was in the short term to get us to respond and, above all, take action on global vaccination, in line with the solidarity we began to show as early as April 2020. The second objective was to establish a common method and get results with this effective multilateralism which we believe in and have fought for over the past four years, and in particular follow the efforts begun in Biarritz and at subsequent summits. The third objective was to define a working method with President Biden and all the partners around the table.
As regards the first immediate short-term issue, I think I can say we’re on track to meet this ambition and at any rate we’ll be extremely vigilant in ensuring that the commitments made today are properly carried out. But I think I can say that this G7 is going to make it possible for there to be more vaccines more quickly on the ground. To do this, we aren’t starting from scratch. As you know, back in April 2020 we launched an ambitious agenda, first by building it with the African Union and several partners, then by endorsing it at the G20 back in April 2020, the ACTA agenda, which made it possible, precisely, to engage the international community in solidarity mechanisms. They allowed us to get things under way. And at our virtual meeting a few months ago, held in the G7 format, we also made very concrete commitments and I was able to follow up on these issues, particularly on the financial level, during the summit with our African partners in Paris on 18 May 2021, then on my visit to South Africa. So today’s G7 is speeding things up on several points. First, the sharing of doses. In February, I set the goal of sharing 13 million doses to vaccinate frontline workers, especially healthcare workers. We were able to do this. A few days ago, I told you that, in our view, the concrete objective we had to set ourselves was a target of 40% of the population vaccinated by the end of the year and 60% by next spring, first and foremost for Africa but obviously also for the Caribbean, Latin America, the Indo-Pacific and the whole world. Through this G7 we’ve pledged to endorse this same objective and vaccinate at least 60% of the world’s population by the end of next year, with this interim target of 40% by the end of the year. To this end, the G7 has pledged to share a billion extra doses, half of them by the end of the year. In that framework, France has doubled its own commitments by moving from 30 to 60 million shared doses by the end of the year. In very concrete terms, the African Union will receive five million doses by the end of the summer. We also got the G7 collectively to call on the private sector to support us on the model of what was done during the H5N1 influenza, by sharing 10% of doses produced. This was a request I made a few weeks ago and repeated a few days ago, and it was endorsed by all the G7 members. The key thing now is for all the G7 members to follow these commitments scrupulously. If they are honoured, we shall be able to get results and, precisely, achieve our goals.
The second important element of this G7 concerns prices. This is what I was able to talk about during my visit to South Africa and also recall a few days ago. We all agreed on the need for greater transparency to ensure more fairness in what is asked of developing countries, i.e. we asked the whole pharmaceutical industry to be transparent about the prices of vaccines issued to these solidarity mechanisms. This transparent reference price is also the one which can be used by recipient countries in their purchases.
The third important element many of our partners expected is the commitment on vaccine production capacity. Indeed, in the very short term, we have to donate vaccines. This is the commitment we got with the extra billion, but right now we’ve also got to be able to produce more in all the low- and middle-income countries in order to build autonomy. It may be important for this crisis, if there are successive booster jabs. It’s important for all the other pandemics, because we need to be able to vaccinate constantly and we know that every continent today is still exposed to major pandemics beyond COVID, and it’s important to build resilience against crises which are bound to return. A simple figure I recalled in South Africa suffices to clarify this need. Africa accounts for 20% of the world’s vaccination needs. It accounts for 1% of production capacity, so we have got to help each continent scale up its capacity. For this, the first commitment made by the G7 members, which is the most pivotal in the short term, is to lift all restrictions on exports.
Indeed, countries important for producing [vaccines] for middle-income or the poorest areas, for example India, have had their production blocked over the past few months precisely because of certain export freezes. So we made a collective commitment – which is going to change many things, particularly for the Serum Institute of India – to lift all its export restrictions.
We then collectively set the objective that under no circumstances would intellectual property block technology transfers which allow production in all regions of the world. And to this end, in a very concrete way, we endorsed the acceleration of work done by the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization to get an agreement on the issue of patents and intellectual property, which must not be an obstacle to universal access. This very much puts into practice the commitment we made just over a year ago precisely to make the vaccine a global public good.
In this respect, I really want to pay tribute to the leadership of South Africa and India, who made a strong proposal which several of us reworked together, and to the support of the United States of America in achieving it, and on this point we worked in collaboration with the United States of America and our [other] colleagues, so we could get this outcome. The coming discussions in the next few weeks at the WTO are absolutely essential in this respect and we’ll follow them with the utmost vigilance. It was an emergency and I think this reaction is salutary; it must now be followed by all actions in accordance with these commitments. We also pledged to prepare for future pandemics. I discussed this at length, in particular with President Biden: reforming the World Health Organization in particular to improve early-warning systems by investing massively in research and health systems. Here too, in our economies as well as our partners’, be they in the Indo-Pacific region or Africa, and by learning all the lessons from what didn’t work in this pandemic, particularly in the early stages, so that we don’t find ourselves in situations again where we aren’t collectively prepared. And I think this issue will permeate our regional and national action plans in the coming weeks and months. That’s the first part of what I wanted to say, which makes this G7 a very concrete element of the response to the pandemic and its urgency, and of the policy of solidarity we’ve got to have.
The second challenge, as I was telling you, is about getting results for this effective multilateralism. First of all, for the past four years we Europeans, but also with our Canadian and Japanese partners around the G7 table, have broadly done everything to ensure that the world order we believe in – i.e. cooperation between developed economies – can continue working for our economies, but also and above all to defend our values, the equilibrium of our open, liberal democracy and a market economy with its balances as defined over decades. Several times you’ve legitimately questioned this group’s effectiveness, because the disagreements around the table have prevented our commitments from being furthered as swiftly [as desired], and the issue of its effectiveness was questioned, to put it diplomatically. I think this G7 has provided an opportunity to show we’ve returned to a language more familiar to us, where developed economies – whatever disagreements they may have on regional issues, on bilateral relations, on issues that may sometimes give rise to different interpretations or actions – nevertheless share what is essential and have the will to coordinate to defend their values, the reform of their system and their ability to act together in the face of today’s major challenges. And so on this aspect I think it’s a key point, because first and foremost it’s about this group’s credibility.
Secondly, it’s about the credibility of our democratic societies. I had the opportunity to mention this to all the journalists present at the press conference I held in Paris a few days ago, but we also discussed it at length around the table at this G7, in a very striking way in my view. We talked constantly about our collective ability to defend the model of liberal, open democracies. And that model is at risk. It’s at risk because it’s facing a challenge of effectiveness, effectiveness for our own compatriots. Are these democracies still managing to produce the growth that enables the middle classes in particular to experience prosperity and progress? And are these democracies managing to build a coordinated response to the climate, technological and human challenge? Are these democracies managing to build responses to the challenges we face? I think I can also say we triggered a virtuous circle enabling us to make this effective multilateralism work and to make progress along this path.
First of all, we all came together to decide on an extremely ambitious recovery policy. As you know, $12 trillion has been invested by the G7 economies in withstanding and overcoming the crisis, which is an unprecedented economic stimulus, but now, above all, we need to continue coordinating our fiscal recovery policies and our monetary policies. The next few months will be decisive in terms of successfully returning to this growth, emerging from the crisis itself, and collectively being able to create jobs again on a huge scale to give prospects to all our fellow citizens. In this regard, consensus was reached that we still need investment in our economies, precisely to revitalize sectors which are in transition and are the most important for the climate and digital transition, and to continue having coordinated and ambitious monetary policies in order to do so. I think that’s an extremely important achievement of this G7: namely, the firm belief that an expansionist investment policy – to enable the transformation of our economies and create jobs, give prospects to the middle classes and address challenges – is absolutely essential. It’s also essential from a geopolitical point of view, because it’s about this G7’s credibility in also proposing to the rest of the world a model of growth and infrastructure finance that isn’t geopolitically dependent on other values and therefore doesn’t call into question democratic values, and isn’t a model that calls into question the impact of climate change and proposes elements of growth that aren’t compatible with this transition.
The second major achievement of this G7, in my view, is its progress precisely in terms of combating inequalities at international level. I’ve talked about it; for me it’s one of the major issues, and the pandemic has heightened these inequalities. We must be clear-sighted in our societies worldwide, and in this regard several commitments we made really enable us to address this situation. First point: we reached an agreement, prepared at the Paris Summit on Financing African Economies, to redirect some special drawing rights issued by the International Monetary Fund to Africa. As you know, since November 2020 France in particular has been very committed alongside the IMF to proceed with this special drawing rights issue, which is, in a way, an additional capacity given to stakeholder economies to invest out of the crisis. A few weeks ago we secured an agreement from our partners to a $650-billion increase in special drawing rights. But the automatic distribution keys for these drawing rights provided only $33 billion to Africa, which, compared to the financing needs of $290 billion, is much too little. We got all the G7 members to agree to follow the movement we began in Paris on 18 May, which enables at least $100 billion in special drawing rights to go to the African continent. It’s an important step for more justice and an important step for helping the African continent in its emergence from the crisis and its economic and social response. The other extremely significant factor in terms of the fight against inequalities is the collective decision to consolidate the agreement on international taxation reached a few days ago by our finance ministers. Indeed, we confirmed the G7’s commitment to reach an agreement at the OECD in July on a minimum tax on multinationals of at least 15% and to adapt our taxation to the digital economy through a fairer distribution of the tax base – the so-called two pillars. We decided to move forward together on this international taxation, which will enable us to address one of the most glaring inequalities in the way the economy is currently organized. It’s also a very significant step forward whose implementation we’ll be monitoring until the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in July and above all in the inclusive framework of the OECD, also to be held in July. Lastly, regarding the fight against inequalities, we’ve pushed forward an agenda close to our hearts: the fight against gender inequality.
First of all, by continuing the commitment France made alongside Senegal at the Global Partnership for Education Replenishment. I confirmed that half of the €333 million that we’re going to devote to the Global Partnership for Education will be directed to girls’ education, which is a key issue on which we’ve been fighting, as you know, for several years, and is an absolutely key challenge for us all. We were also able to increase our support for female entrepreneurship: AFAWA, created at the Biarritz summit, is now mobilizing $1.5 billion in finance, to be made available by 2024 for female entrepreneurship on the African continent. Together with Canada, we also strengthened our support for NGOs in the South. All this will be consolidated in the coming days with the Generation Equality Forum, which we’ll be holding in Paris on 30 June together with UN Women, and which will enable us to consolidate these results but also establish an agenda of combating violence and supporting women’s sexual and reproductive rights, health, girls’ education etc.
This summit on the plan for effective multilateralism also provided an opportunity to give a boost to the reform of international trade. We’re all committed to our climate and social targets being better taken into account in trade agreements and to speeding up the reform of the World Trade Organization, which unfortunately, as you know, has been blocked for too many years. And the World Trade Organization’s ability to resolve disputes swiftly is a key element of our collective credibility in making this multilateralism work.
And also, two final issues to which I was committed have enabled, or at any rate given rise to, strong commitments during this climate and biodiversity summit: firstly confirmation of the pledge to release $100 billion a year for the climate and therefore to collectively redouble our efforts. All the G7 countries also endorsed their alignment with the standards we established several months ago now on climate finance, the so-called TCFD; the same thing on biodiversity, where we’re currently working on normalizing finance, and above all we took a genuine step forward collectively. And I want to say how important the past few months devoted to our battle against global warming during this G7 have been. Indeed, at the beginning of this year, the United States of America endorsed its return to the Paris Agreement. So that’s a key factor, because the United States of America is re-engaging with the Paris Agreement and has therefore reaffirmed its desire to reduce CO₂ emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030 and [achieve] carbon neutrality by 2050, in accordance with the commitments the European Union made a few months ago. And above all, in recent months South Korea and Japan have embarked on a profound transformation of their choices and decisions, in particular by embarking on the road of abandoning coal and ending funding for the development of coal and fossil solutions, which I think is an absolutely key step forward in the agenda of this G7, and we’ll therefore continue moving forward. In particular I was keen for the biodiversity agenda and the fight against global warming to be linked, because, as we know, many initiatives contribute to both. Here I want to reiterate the importance in our eyes of the Great Green Wall, which was relaunched at the beginning of the year at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity, held in Paris.
Finally, on another area, we also endorsed steps forward on strengthening our democracies and shared values in the face of violence and hatred online. You know how committed we are to this agenda. As early as summer 2017, together with Theresa May, we promoted this joint agenda of combating terrorist content online. We achieved the results only two years later. But in the past two years I think I can say we’ve made a lot of progress thanks to the Christchurch Call; we issued it in May 2019 with Prime Minister Ardern and the other G7 members, as well as many other heads of State and government who gradually joined us, and tech leaders, or at any rate many of them. This agenda has enabled us to move forward. It was the Christchurch Call and the Aqaba Process that enabled us to secure the removal of online terrorist content within an hour, which was then translated into a European regulation passed at the end of 2020. And we’re still making headway at European level with the two directives, DMA and DSA. But we’re now in the process of bringing all the G7 members together, on the one hand to fight together against all speech that is racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic etc., and at the same time to succeed in having a policy that both involves discussion with the industry and social media platforms themselves and also, simultaneously, taking responsibility for passing regulations. The American re-engagement endorsed in May around the Christchurch Call was a significant factor. The G7 has mobilized everyone.
Finally, a third goal, as I was saying: my takeaway from my discussions with President Biden and all our partners meeting here is that we managed to regain a genuine shared vision and, above all, a way of working together, namely the firm belief that leadership is stronger through partnership. I think that’s the challenge we all face. We’ve shown our steadfast commitment to smooth cooperation, we have differences, but mutual respect and the desire to work together on the agenda I’ve just recalled is key to our joint effectiveness. These values are shared by all the members present around the table. For my part, I welcome the fact that President Biden was keen to express his commitment several times not only to relations with France but also to the European Union as a political and economic organization. Respecting the European Union and its sovereignty in the framework of the transatlantic partnership is, for me, an extremely crucial element of the relationship we have with our American partners, because it’s a mutually-respective partnership and is based on shared goals and values.
This G7 also provided an opportunity to note the differences we have with democracies that have become liberal like Russia or major undemocratic powers like China, but with a shared desire not to give in to any naivety and therefore obviously to build the framework of our independence, with technological solutions moreover which we Europeans want for ourselves, with partnerships with the Americans, Japanese and others, but with our real autonomy, and in any case the key for addressing the challenge we face is to build a positive and growth agenda in this context. So I’m going to be very clear: the G7 isn’t a club that’s hostile to China. It’s a group of democracies that intend to work with China on all the global issues on which China is ready to work with us, be they the climate, genuine re-engagement in the rules of world trade, or development and the management of African debts, etc. It’s an economic competitor from which we expect full compliance with all the rules we’ve collectively and voluntarily subscribed to: those of the World Trade Organization. And it’s also a power with which we have disagreements which we take on board regarding forced labour or human rights. Our desire is precisely for this framework of relations to be taken on board, but not dramatized, and on the contrary, the role of the G7 powers is to propose a positive agenda, one that enables us everywhere to develop our values, enables us everywhere to provide a positive and concrete response to our ambitions. I don’t want to go on any longer.
Tomorrow we’ll have the opportunity to meet for the NATO summit in Brussels. I think I can also say that this same approach will apply there. I had the chance to discuss this with President Biden, and we previously discussed the issue with all our European partners. For me, the NATO summit will signal this shared desire, first of all, for strategic clarification of the values, principles and rules we want for ourselves within the Alliance and to have a goal, namely to work together, particularly on arms control on the European continent, and in my view this NATO summit is set to signal a return to consistency and shared effectiveness. I’ll now answer your questions.
Q. – A question about China. You said the G7 wasn’t a club hostile to China, but you highlighted the G7’s differences with China. Following this G7, what changes specifically in the G7’s but [also] the European Union and France’s relationship with China? For example, on issues like forced labour, which you mentioned, or the trade agreement, which hasn’t yet come into force. That’s it: what specific changes? And as of today, what information do you have about the possibility that the virus might have escaped from or originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, an issue that was obviously also discussed at this G7?
THE PRESIDENT – Well, there was no discussion among the G7 leaders about the origins of the virus. A report was presented about our capacity to prepare for future challenges, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization took part/and involvement from the Director-General of the World Health Organization. On these issues I refer you to the World Health Organization. I had the opportunity to say this from the outset: the fight against the virus is a war. It’s a world war and it’s a world war we must all wage together, because we have the same enemy. And so for the first time in the history of humanity we must all join forces to protect our populations, innovate and share the fruits of our innovation. And so we must turn it instead into something that speeds up our ways of cooperating. Secondly – and we reiterated this at the World Health Assembly last year – we obviously need clarity about the origins of the virus, but it’s not for this power or that to say what its opinion is. It must be based on clear facts. We need cooperation between all States in these investigations and those conducted by the World Health Organization. And it’s for the World Health Organization, with total freedom and independence and no political pressure, to provide full transparency on the origins of the virus.
On the relationship with China, it’s a relationship which, as far as France is concerned, has existed for several decades, and I’d say you’re aware of our slightly special history with contemporary China. It’s based on the three points I mentioned earlier in my introductory statements. And it’s not changing after this G7. We’ve always taken a very clear position, whether it be about forced labour or human rights, but I also reiterated it to Chancellor Merkel, President Michel and President Von der Leyen at the end of last year, when we resumed work on the investment agreement. And so we know what we want to work on, and we also know our legitimate demands. Now I think we must always take a very clear-sighted view of our partners, speaking the truth and with respect. I know how far China has come in the past few decades to lift several hundred million people out of great poverty.
I’m aware of the differences we have with China, and we take responsibility for them. And I’d be lying to you if I said we don’t have fundamental differences, otherwise China would be at the G7 table. We don’t have the same relationship with free elections, democratic values and human dignity. That’s what explains our disagreements, but we have respect, in other words we think the right way to do things is to uphold the universality of our values and the multilateral framework in which we can promote this, with a desire to move things forward. That’s why Chancellor Merkel and I agreed to uphold this agenda, which consists in committing China again to the fight against forced labour and making China move forward on a multilateral agenda.
That’s our position; it remains unchanged, but I think the discussion allowed us to consolidate this policy of stringency; then we also have powers around the table which are subject to greater pressure from the Chinese. And when I look at my Japanese neighbour and partner, obviously Japan faces much stronger pressures and a much more powerful maritime hegemony. When we invite our partners Australia and [South] Korea around the table, they’re subject to a much more pronounced geopolitical reality. That’s why, in this context and on this issue, we also have a genuine desire to cooperate in the framework of our Indo-Pacific strategy so that freedom of sovereignty is maintained in that region and it isn’t an area where there is particular hegemony.
Q. – Hello Mr President. Michel Rose of Reuters. An issue that wasn’t on the agenda of this G7 but has contaminated the summit is Brexit and what’s now being called the “sausage war”. The British accuse you of describing Northern Ireland as an entity that isn’t part of the United Kingdom. They say they’ve been insulted. What exactly did you say to Boris Johnson during your bilateral meeting, at which Toulouse sausages were clearly discussed? Are you disappointed that Boris Johnson didn’t jump at your offer of a reset in Franco-British relations?
THE PRESIDENT – We’re proud of it and we love it. There’s Toulouse, which you mentioned; there are many others. And I wouldn’t want us to have any problems with Montbéliard, Strasbourg or other regions, and so we champion French gastronomy in all its diversity. No, I think we need to be serious. You can’t honestly create arguments every morning about issues like these, just as we’re gathered for three days to say: our priority is to succeed in our democracies in rebuilding growth, defending our model, which has really been weakened, creating public standards on the Internet to combat online hate speech, and building a strategy to defend our model, given the rise of China and all the challenges we face. Let’s not waste time on arguments that are often created in the corridors or lobbies. What I want to say to Prime Minister Johnson I say to him, and I’m saying it to you face to face.
France has never allowed itself to question British sovereignty, British territorial integrity or respect for that sovereignty. It’s also true that Brexit, let me remind you, is born of that British sovereignty and has taken up thousands of hours of work by European leaders. So we Europeans know what British sovereignty is. I don’t think any other country in Europe has made others spend so much time ensuring its sovereignty is respected – none. So we’re respectful. Over several years following Brexit, we’ve established rules, a protocol agreement and a trade agreement for future relations. All we expect is that it is respected in a serious, calm, professional way – that’s all. And in my view, that isn’t an opportunity for whatever other arguments there may be. I remember when Prime Minister Johnson came to power he didn’t want to keep the backstop, which had been championed by Prime Minister Theresa May and was in fact a way of reconciling respect for the integrity of British territory, the Good Friday Agreement and the single market. Prime Minister Johnson knew full well at that point that it raised an issue of checks, and what’s more he himself signed a protocol agreement which applies to Northern Ireland and provides for checks. Because fully respecting sovereignty, including as regards Northern Ireland, can’t result in disrespect for the sovereignty of the 27 Member States, which decided to create a single market with freedom of movement between themselves, and also protection at their borders. And so the EU mustn’t be held responsible for the inconsistencies we ourselves have known from the outset. So there you are, I’m going about things very calmly. On this subject I think everyone needs to come to their senses. I’m determined for us to succeed collectively in implementing what we decided together a few months ago. It must be done with mutual respect, and I don’t think having arguments every morning is a good way of doing things.
Q. – Hello Mr President, Laurence Benhamou with AFP. So tomorrow you’re going to NATO. Then there will be the meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. On Thursday, you asked for clarification from NATO. You said that we no longer had a Cold War mentality and you discussed that with Mr Biden. So I have two questions. First, what you expect from the Biden-Putin meeting? And then, with regard to clarifying NATO’s goals, very simply who is the enemy? Do you agree with Mr Biden on that point? And on another issue, when you talk about arms control on European soil, does the United States agree that Europeans should play a part in arms control on their soil? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT – On the first point, I welcome the meeting between President Biden and President Putin. I’ve always supported dialogue with President Putin. I’ve sometimes been criticized for it, so I’m not going to criticize others for doing it. I think that it is always better to talk, including when we disagree. So I think that this meeting is a good thing and will help clarify the areas of disagreement and, I hope, make progress on reducing online, space and maritime conflict. It’s our shared agenda, which we discussed with President Biden. Second point: who is the enemy? Any power, any actor which seeks to undermine the territorial integrity of NATO members, which threatens the security of NATO members. In my view, that is the enemy. And so today, if any regional power were to have notions about threatening the territorial integrity of a NATO member, they would be the enemy. And so we must plan ways and means of protecting ourselves from that. And obviously Islamist terrorism is an enemy of NATO as it has clearly seriously threatened our societies. That, I might add, is what justifies NATO’s presence within the international coalition in the Iraq-Syria region. On that issue, our views are clearly aligned.
Now, to arms control. We obviously raised this with President Biden – and with Prime Minister Johnson too – and I proposed that together we should work on ways and means of sharing an agenda among allies, and then with our main neighbourhoods, to build a new arms control agenda. In general terms, I think it was essential to get back to an international culture of arms control. Recent years have shown increases in equipment and conflict. We need to be able to restore the culture of a strategic agenda and arms control, including with any major powers whose agendas and values we do not share. In this regard, since we are no longer in the Cold War, I believe that the Europeans have a seat at the table, and especially France, as a permanent member of the Security Council and a nuclear power. Beyond these issues, we obviously need to coordinate our action in other areas of conflict: online, in space, at sea, etc. There are new areas in which conflict is increasing. This is one of the absolutely essential issues which I’d like to discuss at the NATO summit.
Q. – Hello Mr President, Bertrand Gallichet, Radio France. You discussed the issue of the post-pandemic economic recovery with President Biden and the fact that cooperation is necessary with the United States. Was tourism one of the topics of your discussion? I’m referring to the issue of authorization for French people wishing to go on holiday to the United States, for example, given that Americans who have been vaccinated can currently come to Europe and in particular France. Was that question raised? Did you place that issue on the table? Did Mr Biden make any commitments? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT – Indeed I did discuss those issues with President Biden. I also had a chance to interest the Americans with some areas of French economic attractiveness and expertise after some difficult years, and I gave him a bottle of Côte-Rôtie which a French wine producer had the good taste to produce to celebrate [inaudible], which will take place on 5 September. And I can tell you that President Biden is a friend of France and loves our country. So as you clearly recalled, we now have a clear agenda as regards our ability to welcome American tourists in particular to Europe and France with the Green Pass for people with a negative PCR test or who have been fully vaccinated. I asked him about this issue. He replied that the US health authorities will clarify the situation in the weeks ahead. Great caution is being exercised in the US and there are still many restrictions. That said, the vaccination roll-out has made a lot of progress and some areas have been allowed to open up. So although he didn’t give me a specific date, I believe that by the end of June, clarification will be provided. In any case, he firmly assured me that he wants to provide transparency for both business and leisure travellers.
Q. – Mr President, thank you very much indeed. Steve Sedgwick, CNBC. A question in English, if I may. Look, very interesting. You spoke a lot about the last four years. You talked about those in place did not allow the G7 to deliver. And you had a very difficult meeting in Biarritz. I was down there. Prime Minister Trudeau had a very difficult meeting in Ottawa, which is quite famous as well. I think indirectly, what you’re saying is that the future of the G7, the success of the G7, is at the whim of the US electoral cycle, which again could deliver another Republican, perhaps even the same Republican in a very short period of time. Is the future, the relevance of the G7 for all our viewers and all our listeners and readers as well at the whim of the US electoral cycle?
THE PRESIDENT – That’s a question that someone had in fact already asked me a few days ago and you are right to ask it. It’s true that when a partner as crucial as the United States decides to diverge from the management of global public goods or convergence on many issues, it’s very difficult for the club to make progress. Now, does this mean that nothing advances when the United States decides not to support the agenda? No. And we’ve shown this over the past four years because we’ve strengthened the ability of Europeans to cooperate. And I believe this to be very important. I believe this to be a critical achievement of the past four years. The European Union has shown in recent years that is a political and not simply economic entity. And therefore, when we’ve made decisions on such important issues as the climate, our freedoms, our defence, and technological choices, we’ve been able to have values and interests we’ve defended together and on which we’ve decided to advance, as we haven’t been blocked by another partner.
Now for the question if in four years, the American people make yet another choice, whether the club could find itself blocked again. Perhaps. The key thing for me lies in two answers. The first is, how to make the decisions we take today unstoppable. I believe that is what we basically were able to do with regard to the climate agreement, the Paris Agreement. Donald Trump’s decision regarding the Paris Agreement did not affect the choices of most federated states and above all the US private sector. It continued to engage because the United States, which was still an open country, said to itself: the rest of our partners continue to move forward, we must make the same choices. They did not waste any time because the agenda we established was somehow unavoidable. Therefore, I think that the strength – which is both the speed and the scale of our decisions today, which can make them unavoidable when it comes fighting inequalities and climate change, or with regard to our values – minimizes the impact to a certain extent of a member who deserts the club, if it were to happen. This is the first antidote, if I may say, the first antibody that we must develop to deal with a member’s possible divergence. But obviously, since the United States is the biggest partner in terms of size and its economy, we have to ensure that our choices are unavoidable.
The second is to succeed in bringing our international agenda back in sync with our fellow citizens’ lives. That is what I see behind effective multilateralism and behind the effectiveness of our democracy. Basically our fellow citizens have felt for many years, and may still feel, that we’re talking about issues that are very disconnected from their daily lives. I think exactly the opposite. So we must make things tangible for our fellow citizens. This means showing that our decisions have useful effects for us and for the lives of our fellow citizens and help solve our problems at home and make our fellow citizens’ lives better. That’s my second antidote. Our fellow citizens in our countries will vote for people who are working on this international agenda and not for people who explain to them that the answer is nationalism. Let me explain. In our country, we have seen a rise in violence. We all have reasons that are specific to our countries, but there are two root causes: inequalities stemming from the way the international economy works and harsher discourse on social networks. These are two core issues of the agenda, we raised that point earlier, with two tangible responses. Thanks to the agenda that we have in the G7, we will be able to tax multinationals: this means €5 to 10 billion more for the French budget. This is fair. I can explain this to my taxpayers and tell them I’m going to remove €5 to 10 billion in taxes, but above all, we’ve corrected [the behaviour of] the people who were competing with you unfairly. I can’t do this if the British, German and American people don’t sign with me, because I can’t do this alone.
The second thing. If I don’t help Africa succeed, I will be subject to massive migration in my country with a destabilizing impact. A growth agenda for Africa is also something that has a very concrete impact on my fellow citizens, and I’m not talking about all my fellow citizens who have family in Africa and wouldn’t understand if I let that continent fail. When I talk very clearly about a climate transition, financing and coordination, I can ask my companies to make efforts because the others are asking the same of theirs and there’s no unfair competition. When I say we’re going to prohibit certain online content, I can explain to parents that I’ll succeed in removing certain content from the Internet to which their children are exposed, because we have this cooperation. If France did this alone, it would have no impact. The said account could just be set up in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States to post content. Therefore this agenda, given the nature of our problems and an agenda of effectiveness for the privacy of our democracies, is the second antidote.
Each time we have concrete results that we can present at home, we can say to our fellow citizens: “Look at this, we did this. We did this in the G7 and here is how it changes your lives.” So they can legitimately say: “International cooperation is effective. It makes life better.” If we have meetings in which nothing happens legitimately, they end up thinking that the nationalists are right. I think the opposite is true. The meeting today has helped take this ambitious agenda forward. Thank you very much. I think we have to leave the room because we must stick to the schedule and we must leave. In any case, thank you. Again, as I did at the start of my press conference, I would like to thank Prime Minister Johnson and all of the British people for their welcome. Thank you very much.