Indholdet på denne side vedrører regeringen Lars Løkke Rasmussen III (2016-19)
Pressemøde i Statsministeriet

Pressemøde den 28. august 2018

Pressemøde 28. august 2018

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Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
“Good afternoon, everybody! I ́m extremely pleased and honoured to be able to welcome President Emmanuel Macron to Copenhagen today. I consider you, Emmanuel, to be a very close friend and ally of Denmark and I look very much forward to spending the next couple of days together and exploring ways to further strengthening the already excellent relations between our two countries. One area I know that you have expressed particular interest in is the Nordic model and our way of combining flexible employment markets with a high level of social security. I look very much forward to temper your curiosity on how Danes have created a model that has proven very successful in reaping the benefits of globalization. A key question at our meeting just now was the future of Europe. And I guess it ́s right to say that we both agree that the EU should be as close as possible to our citizens and that we must work to ensure that citizens can count on the European Union to deliver results to those key issues where European cooperation brings added value. And that is issues such as ensuring growth and prosperity for all Europeans, combatting climate change at home and abroad, strengthening the EUs global voice on international trade, promoting European values, keeping our citizens safe from the full spectrum of threats and effectively tackling migration. The future of Europe rests on our ability to prove to the citizens that the best way to produce concrete results is by Europe working together.

Later today, the president and I will engage in a debate with students on how we best achieve our goals for further developing European cooperation and I must say I look very much forward to that. Of course, France and Denmark are not entirely comparable on all European affairs. Unlike France, Denmark has certain opt-out, which make us unable to fully participate in all EU areas and it ́s only natural that we sometimes have differences on selected policies.

However, we agree on who we want to be. A prosperous Europe which safeguards our way of life and protects our common values. And we also very much agree that the world, perhaps more so today than ever before, needs a unified Europe with a strong and firm global voice. We have also used the opportunity today to strengthen further the bilateral cooperations between Denmark and France. Of a number of issues, I would like just to mention a few of them. We have agreed on a strengthened partnership on security and defence, which includes our joint support for strengthening Europe as a global security actor. One of the initiatives is our intention to participate with a Danish frigate to the French aircraft carrier group Charles De Gaulle, pending parliamentary approval.

Also, we have a common commitment to further strengthen cooperation on climate and sustainable development. These are top issues for Denmark. Top issues for France. Top issues for Europe. The Danish government has decided to contribute ten million Euros to the European Fund for Sustainable Development and this is just another concrete example of our shared commitment to promote green growth and partnerships in Africa. And we also agree on new partnerships in important areas such as energy and climate, higher education, and culture.

o, these are just some of the areas where our cooperation will be further strengthened after this official state visit, the first since 1982.

To conclude, I would, once again, like to give my heartfelt welcome to President Macron, and First Lady Brigitte Macron to our lovely country. And even though Denmark cannot compete with the French Alps and the French beaches, I hope that you will be able to catch some of that world-famous, relaxed, and cosy Danish atmosphere that we like to call hygge during your stay here in Denmark. So, once again Emmanel, you are most welcome, and I would like to give the floor to you.

President Emmanuel Macron:
(translation missing) Merci beaucup. Merci, mister premiere ministre..
Thank you so much. Thank you, dear prime minister, dear Lars, for your warm welcome and please allow me to thank Her Majesty the Queen for her invitation and let me tell you how happy I am to be here today with you. Thank you for your words of friendship. I can say that in our discussions, in our relationship it is the same friendship that is as reliable as has ever been.

This state visit is the first one since 1982 and it has some special importance. First of all, because it fits within a long-standing and very strong relationship. I ́m informed that, François Mitterrand, back in 1982, when he came to Denmark, and, as a matter of fact he did the same thing and played with the Danes on a couple of occasion, he said Europe enable us to put an end to the war that was so important for his generation and he said strangely enough, French never fought against Denmark and he said he did not understand why, given that we, at some point or other, were at war with so many countries. And apparently, the queen used to answer, to say to him, well it ́s very simple, the reason is that we always got (on) together well and I think we fit very much within this logic, this very obvious logic. France and Denmark have been friends forever. And today, once again, Denmark is a strong ally. Europe, security, and climate, for these major challenges.

This relationship, I would say, which is even more special, given the Royal family and this French touch for more than 50 years. And for all these reasons it makes me very happy to be in Denmark today. And also, probably, because in Denmark one can find also some of the ideas which I believe are important for France. Respect for human beings, outstanding education, where the orbiting to culture is so present. A very inclusive model, solidarity. Of course no-one is perfect, and we always tend to think that of these that are more beautiful than they are in the daily life when we see them occasionally but for all these reasons the Danish model is also a source of inspiration and it gives me great pleasure to be here.

Another reason is that, together, we are facing some major challenges for Europe, for the world, and we have to face up to these challenges, like you just said. This is the reason why, upon arriving this morning, I very much wanted to pay tribute to the Danish armed forces because for the past few years they’ve been fighting together with us on very demanding issues in the Levant and in other places. And Denmark is very much on the forefront of this international fight and we ́ve been hit by the same enemies and the reason is that we share the same values and in particular such a strong attachment to fundamental freedoms. And as I watched the monument, paid tribute to those of your soldiers who fell abroad, I could only have in mind the fact that we ́ve been fighting for the same cause and on the same battles. I also acknowledge that we very much see eye to eye on the global challenges and together with you, dear Lars, we ́ve been discussing the major challenges. On defence matters we have a genuine convergence in strong cooperation. But also, and most importantly, we both joined the European defence initiative. We ́ve made these choices. And, as discussed on the occasion of the last NATO summit, we both believe that Europe ́s strategic autonomy requires us to strengthen our joint defence capability. We can discuss that further this afternoon, but I think this is a major achievement of the past few months and Denmark is clearly part of it. And please allow me to say here that the way I see the European defence and what I ́ve been telling our ambassadors yesterday and when we say - when I say that I would like to amend the European treaties in order to strengthen our existing defence cooperation, which we already have been using, been able to use in 2015, but I would like for us to be able to bring its solidarity to all the countries which need it, in terms of defence. Convergence is also a matter of – for the digital sector. We are trying to use ... impose our model around the world with fair payments, fair costs and we ́ll be waging a battle which is very dear to us in a couple of days. There ́s also our ability to innovate, to attract the best talents, and to support entrepreneurship and to have the same strategy, as we discussed.

European challenges, well, there ́s also, of course, the climate, and, like you said on this, we share the same vision. Europe needs more ambition when it comes to the climate and we will be fighting a decisive battle in the coming months. We need our carbon market to operate properly and we need some coherent decisions in order to match the goals that we have set for ourselves. When it comes to tackling climate disruption, France and Denmark both want Europe to get on the forefront and we have the resources for that. Together with the prime minister we talked about many topics but I also came to talk about how to rewamp Europe and we ́ll be exchanging, we ́ll be debating with Danish citizens in a few minutes in the Royal Library, for citizen consultation, and this is very dear to me, very important. It ́s about some direct debate – no security net. And I very much would like to say how much Denmark counts in this European approach and Denmark is so important as well for the European project, given the model that you represent and given the Danish commitment.

I also know that Denmark, and in particular its prime minister are on our side in the demanding battle we have to fight, with some progressive views on all of the topics I just mentioned for the Europe of tomorrow we have to build. And more than ever I believe that the European Union needs Denmark to speak up, to be proud of where it stands in Europe and to have some Danish leaders who support this vision and I ́m well aware of the brave words you had over the past few months, so thank you for that. We ́ll be fighting together for Europe.

Lastly, I came as well to find a source of inspiration in the Danish Model. It is about economic performance as well a social model which you manage to combine, so we ́ll very much look into your apprenticeships as well as vocational training models, we ́ll look into your past and present in order to find some inspiration for the reforms we ́re implementing.

Tomorrow, at the headquarters of Dansk Industri, I will also be meeting some of your economic business leaders as well as representatives of the unions. A number of representatives that very much matter, in front of these businesses. Danish companies of global size decided to invest in France and I ́m very much looking forward to discussing this with them tomorrow.

Some French companies also manage to do very well in Denmark over the past few years with contracts for the subway, for selling the airbus aircrafts, the tramway, and many other projects. The number of French companies present here doubled over the past few years. It means that there is an unprecedented momentum in our relationship, in our business relationship, even though we still can do much more. If I were to add - had to add anything else, something else that bears witness to our cooperation: the many agreements we ́re signing together in the fields of defence, energy, climate higher education, the movie industry, all of these agreements that will be signed by our representatives and our ministers.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I meant to share with you here today, telling you, once again, how happy I am to spend two days together with you, Lars, here, and you can count on me to actually enjoy the Danish way of life and make the best of it and contribute to promoting it everywhere, because it also means that it is also important for others to see and to be aware of what Denmark is. Thank you so much.

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
And then we are ready to answer a few questions. Stéphanie Surrugue!

Stéphanie Surrugue, DR Nyheder:
Thank you. Danish Broadcasting Company, two questions for the president of France.
(translation missing)
...Trouvez-vous, monsieur Macron, que le Danemark peut-être peut-être un peu trop prudent?
Do you think, president Macron, that Danish is maybe, that Denmark is sometimes too prudent?
...(sound missing) lidt mere tryg ved Emmanuel Macrons EU-kurs efter jeres møder i dag?

President Emmanuel Macron:
If I ́m here, it means that I believe in constant and respectful dialogue between all the members of the European Union and one of the principles I stick to, is that I never teach lessons to other countries, because I respect what each nation, each people, what they are. So, Denmark, I would not say that Denmark is being too prudent or too careful and I did not comment (on) former referenda, knowing that even in France we had some big referenda on the European issue. I believe that Denmark is a great European country. A country, if you look at the polls, where people believe in Europe. A country which is deeply European. If you look at their values, its values and its model. But maybe a country which does not acknowledge how European it is. So, I would not say that Denmark is too prudent or too careful, I would say that Denmark maybe, once again, does not acknowledge its European nature. So, I would very much invite the European, the Danish young people to open up. They do not need me to be European. I mean, their leaders have been very bold about Europe and I ́ve been listening to your prime minister. When it comes to European values, when it comes to the challenges, the climate etc., the digital sector. Of course, your prime minister defends his country and interests, but he ́s very European and much committed.

And I believe that these values, the reason is that these values are at the hearts of your projects.

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
When I listen to the answer I can say that I felt secure (chuckle) before and after the meeting because the question was “Do I feel more secure about your position on Europe after our meeting than before?” And I think it ́s right to say that I think we share many values and many ideas of what we are heading towards. There are differences in our attitude and how to achieve the targets, but I totally echo what Emmanuel just said, that the Danes are European by heart and it ́s perhaps a strange dilemma that we are among the most pro-European people in Europe, according to surveys, and at the same time we have all these opt-outs. And perhaps that is because we are cold-blooded, pragmatic Scandinavians and not as warm-hearted as French people, for instance.

So, there are differences. But I think we all realize that we are living in changing times. We both joined the NATO summit a few weeks ago and I think that we both realized that we have to take upon ourselves more responsibility. So, we have to find a way forward. I want to respect the Danish opt-outs. I ́m not calling for a new referendum. But we need a debate in Denmark. Because I consider Denmark ... I consider it to be in our own best interest to be as close to the European ... to the heart of the European cooperation as possible.
I think the next question will go to Oliver Bost? From RTL! Please!

Oliver Bost, RTL:
Thank you. Monsieur premier ministre, monsieur le président. Oliver Bost, RTL.
Mr. president, prime minister, a question for the president from RTL. Mr. president, are you disappointed by the resignation of Nicolas Hulot, minister for the environment? He says that you sadly do not understand his issues and that he clearly says that he does not agree with your policy, your environmental policy. Who will replace him?

President Emmanuel Macron:
Well, like you know, I usually do not comment on internal issues, domestic issues, when I ́m abroad. But still, you mentioned, somehow, the choice of a man, and I would like to come back to this. Being honest, I do not think he said what you just reported. But he made a personal decision this morning. And the reason why I chose Nicolas Hulot some 15 months ago is because he ́s a free individual, a free man, and I respect his freedom. I hope we can still rely on his commitment, no matter where he goes, and I believe that in 15 months this government has done more than any other on this topic. More than any other. The decision to close some coal plants, our commitments on hydrocarbons, the commitment made for energy trajectory that will soon be a reality, decision taken on mobility issues, we ́ve a European commitment. And you can ask anyone whether France is nowhere to be found on climate issues. We ́ve taken, also, some commitments for the future. So, I hope I can still rely on his commitment, of somebody, an individual, a free individual, very committed. And, in addition, I ́ve made some commitments to the French people in that we have to build a French society for the 21st century, where each and everyone can enjoy some healthy food and healthy environment. It ́s not something that can happen overnight. It means that we very much have to face up to the realities which are more important than some [unintelligible] or other. So, we ́ll continue, on the basis of that commitment and based on the promises I made to the French people, with a constant and total commitment on my behalf.

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
Svenning Dalgaard!

Svenning Dalgaard, TV2:
I have also two questions. One for the prime minister and one for president Macron.
(translation missing) D'abord, monsieur le président..

Mr. president, if the Danish prime minister told the Danish press that he, in the long term, wishes that Denmark could start military cooperation at European level. For you, president, what is the importance of Denmark ́s role on a military level?

...(sound missing) had the time to talk to the French president. What have you said more precisely to him about the Danish opt-outs? Not only about military, but also other opt-outs? But most particularly with the pronunciation with words that you have given to the Danish press. What have you said about the military opt-outs?

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
Do you want me to start? Yes, well ... I just want to make it very clear. You said that we want, in a long-term perspective, to cooperate. That ́s not exactly accurate, we want to do that immediately. With the full respect of the Danish opt-out, we want to cooperate as much as possible. And that ́s why we have agreed during this meeting that we will, on a bilateral basis, will enhance our cooperation and Denmark will take part in the European dimension as much as we can, fully respecting the opt-out. And it ́s no secret that I, on a personal note, want to change our position and I want to get rid of this opt-out. I haven ́t called for any referendum. That will not take place within this term, but I think we need a debate in Denmark. And why do we do that? We need this debate for many reasons. One reason is that the transatlantic relations are changing these days. I think we both really realized that during the last summit. So we have to take greater responsibility for our own security, and I think what we will see in the future is a new division of labor between NATO and Europe and I think it is strange, if we put Denmark in a position where we participate in, you know, in the top actions in NATO or through different alliances, and then, when we should invest in stabilization and rebuilding countries with a military dimension, then Denmark have to withdraw.

So, I think it is in our own best interest to participate as much as possible, but I fully respect that we have these opt-outs and they can only be changed by the people of Denmark. And I ́m not calling for a referendum, but I ́m asking for a debate. Not black and white, not yes and no, but with nuances. And for that reason, I have, you know, I have been inspired by Macrons idea of, you know, strong engagement of people. We need a debate with our citizens and I think that ́s why we are heading for this - that will be delayed - but we are heading for this meeting in the Royal Library later this afternoon.

President Emmanuel Macron:
(translation missing) Sur cet sujet il y a d ́abord on question ..

On this topic, first of all there ́s a political issue, a sovereign issue on behalf of Denmark which is not for me to comment. But, I can say that from a strategic point of view, quite an involvement of Denmark would, of course, be good news for Europe and for France. Full involvement in the European defence cooperation and ...[unintelligible].. the reasons, decisions, all of that is a very good thing, I believe. I believe in European sovereignty and that requires strategic autonomy from a political, diplomatic and military point of view. And, on the military side, I think that we very much reshuffled things within a year. Europe has done some work that wasn ́t done for, since the 1950 ́s. The permanent, structured cooperation, the European initiatives, all that, I think, are extremely important. And they show that, now, Europe is very much acknowledging that the Cold War is over and that we ́re not just thinking about our security in terms of the North Atlantic Treaty, but we have to do something by ourselves as well. And this is good news, I think, for Denmark, for its partners, and for Europe, if Denmark were to commit further in this military cooperation.

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
Question to AFP! Please!

(translation missing) Bonjour, monsieur président, monsieur premier ministre.
Good afternoon, prime minister, good afternoon, president. Your discussions on the European challenges. President, you presented the French goals in your speech yesterday and in your speech, prime minister you gave an interview to Le Monde where you exposed your differences. So, since you were talking about concrete points about the European election I would like to ask questions on three topics. France would like to tax the digital giants and I know that Denmark is not in agreement? Now also the question of migrants arriving in Denmark. Denmark is very firm about migration. And, third question, France would like tax conversions in Europe. What do you think about these three topics and also did your discussions allow for more compromise or are you still friends beyond all the disagreements and with all the common values?

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
I think true friendship is also about disagreement, in a friendly matter. And, of course, there are differences. But having said that, I want to emphasize that I fully share president Macrons desire to make sure that tech giants pay their fair share of tax. Because it is simply not acceptable that some companies can maneuver their way out of paying taxes. This must be stopped. So, for that reason we support the ongoing work in EU and OECD and I think we can get far with the proposal of significant digital presence, but there are also some problems that needs to be solved. And I ́m willing to discuss this as a kind of ... the French position a kind of bridgebuilder between the current situation and a final, global solution.

But it is important that we take different problems into consideration so that we do not end up punishing European companies.

When talking about migration, and I shall limit myself to a few comments, I don ́t think we disagree much. I think what we need is to develop a fully fledged strategy towards this problem, where we kill the human smugglers’ business model. And this is about protecting external borders, it is about investing more in Africa. I ́m proud to say that we are among only five countries in the world who fulfill the UN targets on aid. It ́s about setting up schemes, where we invite African youngsters to Europe for education etc., on the precondition that they return to Africa and invest their skills in building up own societies. And it ́s about to make sure that we can return people who come to Europe without fulfilling the criteria to be granted asylum. That is what we need. A common approach. And this is also some of the ideas presented by Macron.

President Emmanuel Macron:
(translation missing)
Sur les trois points que vous dit..

You mentioned three points. First of all, digital taxation. The prime minister mentioned it, there is genuine convergence. The prime minister said once again he ́s willing to move forward on that. And, as a matter of fact, in a number of months, France has been fighting for the tech giants, digital giants to be taxed. These are the global giants who currently are making the best of the existing rules and in order not to pay either the VAT or corporate taxes and so they are not on equal footing with European companies on that. Our minister for the economy and finance is very much committed to that. It ́s also a matter of culture because these digital giants are paying more attention to the content and it is very much related to some of the topics which we have discussed. Now we entered into a technical discussion. Some, including Denmark, fear that we will put in place a mechanism that will very much shake the way taxation operates around the world, on a territorial basis. So, if we are taxing the digital giants, simply because they ́re operating in Europe, well, are we going to do it elsewhere? Are we going to lose the taxes paid by some operating elsewhere? If it will be based in Europe? So, it is a matter of very much looking into our relationship mainly with the US. So, we have, together with the European Union first of all to find a short term solution which is simple. It is about getting them to pay a small percentage of their turnover, making sure that it is a temporary solution until we find a long-standing, sustainable solution approved by all. The goal is to be efficient, from an economic point of view and fair, so that there is no unfair competition. So, I apologize for much getting into the details but I hope there is no doubt that at some point I hope they ́ve been dealt with. So we will now support, keep supporting the proposal made by the commission and we very much agree on that.

Next, migrations. France is not, I quote ”in favour of allocating the migrants with quotas” and this is very ambiguous, it can be a reference to what the commission offered two years ago at the beginning of the crisis. What I said is much, very much in line with what the prime minister just said. I want a comprehensive solution which is first of all a developing policy in terms of education, economic opportunities for countries of origin and this is what, somehow lead France to very much increase its public foreign development aid which we increased to 0.55 percent of our GDP. It is also about our relationship with these countries and recently Nigeria, the African union, Libya and our European partners and the European Union were in Paris for a meeting on which we talked about how to regulate the flows. We got some results because about a year ago the Libyan route was very high and now the number of migrants coming through Libya decreased ten times. So, the work done with the traffic countries has been efficient.

Thirdly, we believe in joint protection of our borders and investing in FRONTEX.
Fourth point, we need some clear, joint rules on arrivals. We believe in the responsibility of the country of first arrival. The responsibility of the closest safe port. We do not want people to be taken all around from one port to another. And we also believe in European solidarity as from day one. This is the European concept of controlled centres with some European funding, European rules and processes in order for us to manage the flows, bring about a quick answer, a fast answer to those who match the criteria for asylum and very quickly return to their countries those who fall into the group of economic migrants. And we ́re having many political debates in our country but very often we forget about it but he right to asylum is unconditional, in France, in our Constitution. But, very quickly we need to asses who meets the criteria and who does not and so it is then also a matter of internal solidarity. But the only possible answer is this comprehensive answer. Today, some nationalistic voices very much spoke against what the European Union, the Commission, suggest offered. But they do not offer anything else. And at the same time these countries are asking for the solidarity of the European Union. Why do they not want to shoulder their responsibilities?

So, so far, I haven ́t seen any solution put forward together by these nationalists except disagreement everywhere, so this we will continue to work on that over the next few days. We need convergence. There is no quick and easy solution. The one that was used in the past isn ́t a solution to rely on, national selfishness. There ́s a project by the European Commission and France and Germany together have very much worked in favour of tax convergence. We ́ll support the project supported by the Commission itself. And I think we can indeed have a tax convergence. It doesn ́t mean that the rules will be exactly the same everywhere and that the tax rates will be the same everywhere but we will have, we can have some common basis and get closer. Because it ́s a good thing for all our companies. But, of course, it takes time.
So, yes, indeed, we have our differences. And, also, a matter of different cultures and the relationship we have to Europe. We just mentioned the opt-outs. But it doesn ́t mean that this cannot be resolved.
Europe, as a matter of fact, has offered us a path. And I think with all the processes around Europe, we can succeed, and we ́ve been working very constrictively to that end.

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen:
This concludes the press conference. Thank you so much.”