Paris Climate Change Conference must succeed

François Hollande visits Angela Merkel Paris Climate Change Conference must succeed

Germany and France are pulling together on climate policy. Both nations aim to have a binding climate agreement adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, said Angela Merkel during the visit of the French President. They also discussed the implementation of the agreements on Ukraine.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande at the joint press conference at the Federal Chancellery

Broad agreement between François Hollande and Angela Merkel - not only on climate action policy

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

At their press conference following the Petersberg Climate Dialogue on Tuesday (19 May 2015), Angela Merkel praised France’s enthusiastic commitment to the preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. "France has set an extremely ambitious programme for this conference, and I hope that we will be able to go into some aspects of the climate change conference with the industrialised states at the G7 summit and at the outreach meeting with participants from Africa."

Targets and financing are the open questions. "Without the support of the developing countries it will be impossible to achieve any ambitious agreement," said Angela Merkel. Germany will do all it can to support France in its role as conference host.

The UN Climate Change Conference is to be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.

Small steps forward in implementing the Minsk agreement

Their meeting also looked at the Eastern Partnership Summit to be held at the end of this week, and the Ukraine conflict. Angela Merkel und François Hollande expressed their utter conviction that everything must be done to implement the Minsk agreements. "We see that the process is arduous and difficult, and that we can only proceed small step by small step," said Angela Merkel. There have, however, also been achievements. Working groups have now been set up to discuss the political issues.

They will be meeting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.

Shared position on refugee policy

With a view to the current proposals of the European Commission on refugee and asylum policy, Angela Merkel underscored the collaboration between Germany and France. Humanitarian efforts have been stepped up in the Mediterranean. Germany is doing its bit to save refugees in distress at sea. It is essential to combat the human traffickers, said Angela Merkel, "but this is only possible in line with international law". "We need a UN Security Council Resolution." We are still a long way from achieving a solution, she added.

Fighting the root causes

The Chancellor stressed the need to fight the root causes of the mass exodus of refugees trying to reach Europe. She pointed to the forthcoming meeting with the African Union. "We will be engaging extremely actively together." Now that the British elections are over, talks will also be held with British colleagues. She announced close collaboration between Germany and France in this regard, and with respect to the proposals made by the European Commission on migration and refugee policy. "The two ministers of the interior are to draw up common ideas. We agree that we must go beyond Dublin, in view of the challenges we face." A great many details still need to be clarified though.

The Dublin Regulation establishes a hierarchy of criteria for identifying the member state responsible for examining an asylum claim in Europe. This ensures that every claim for asylum is examined by only one member state.

Rapid solution for Greece called for

Another item on the agenda of the talks between Angela Merkel and François Hollande was the financial crisis in Greece. The Greek government was called on to achieve swift results with its creditors. A programme must be finalised by the end of May in line with agreements reached with the Eurogroup. "Talks must be accelerated," said Angela Merkel. She stressed that the EU’s current bailout programme will expire at the end of June. President Hollande said that "significant progress" is needed.

At the EU Eastern Partnership Summit on Thursday they will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and discuss the problem with him. Greece’s financial situation is so acute that there is no time to lose. Berlin and Paris will speak with one voice at the meeting with Alexis Tsipras.