Meeting with President Emmanuel Macron

Declaration by the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, after meeting President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, 27 February 2018.

Check against delivery

Mr. President,

Thank you for your warm welcome, your kind words and our very productive exchange.

It was a meeting focused on concrete common responses to crucial challenges in our time.

Our ties are strong. I believe that our meeting today has contributed to strengthening them even further.

In January 2015, I was in Paris expressing our common resolve in the great solidarity march after the terrorist attacks. At your invitation, I was again in Paris last December at the One Planet Summit, expressing our common resolve in the defence of the Paris Climate Agreement.

After your election as president last year, France has taken strong initiatives.

Norway and France share common values, key interests and key challenges.

We also share similar analyses of the main global and European issues and of the need for concrete follow-up action.

Key challenges follow from climate change, threats against peace and security, poverty, as well as rapid technological transformations.

This requires solidarity and effective action at the international level.

Together, we call for support to multilateral institutions and the rule of law.

Apart from biathlon and handball, where we are strong, yet friendly opponents, I do not see areas of disagreement.

We have strong agreement on many of the issues we discussed, including:

  • Norway’s strong level of integration in Europe, and attachment to the internal market,
  • our common values and norms
  • the importance of preventing violent extremism and radicalization,
  • the need for sustainable management of our oceans, and
  • the continuation of the fight against ISIL and strong concern for the senseless suffering in Syria.

We welcome the Security Council resolution demanding a 30 day humanitarian pause. The hostilities must come to an end.

Instead of spending limited time on all issues discussed, let me mention some particular follow-ups:

Regarding Brexit, I underlined the importance of preserving the internal market and our participation in it as an equal partner through the EEA Agreement.

On European security, I welcomed France’s Defense and National Security Review, including your clear reengagement in Northern Europe and your commitment to NATO. We also support your efforts to strengthen European defense cooperation. Norway has a lot to offer in this field and we will continue to stand first in line as the EU develops its cooperation with like-minded third countries.

We agreed that the situation in the Sahel regions requires more attention. I want to express my most sincere condolences for your two soldiers recently killed in Mali. The courage that French soldiers display in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region is a service rendered to all of us. Norway increases its engagement in the region with several elements: 

  • the recent opening of the Norwegian Embassy in Bamako, Mali
  • strengthened bilateral cooperation with Mali and Niger
  • renewed engagement in the UN force in Mali, MINUSMA
  • a contribution of more than 1,5 million Euro, to the G5 Joint Force
  • further discussions with France on possible additional Norwegian support to promote security in the region. 

Norway and France remain fully committed to the Sustainable Development Goals and implementation of the Paris climate agreement.

I commend you for the successful climate summit in December last year. We will continue our work with Sovereign Wealth Funds to include climate risk considerations in better ways.

Building on the successful outcome of the education summit, which you co-hosted in Dakar recently, we have agreed to explore how we can work more closely together on education in Africa.

I told the President that Norway is ready to join the Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, initiated by France.

We need collective action to combat work-related crime in Europe. Failure to do so will undermine people’s support for European integration.  I have recently taken an initiative in this respect, and I am very happy for your support.

We have agreed to step up the work of modernizing our bilateral agreements related to education and research. We look toward signing a renewed agreement in Rouen in September. This will be part of the celebration of 100 years of Norwegian students taking their baccalauréat in France.

Finally, I repeated and reconfirmed the standing invitation for a state visit to Norway.

Thank you very much, tusen takk, merci beaucoup!