Germany and France approve joint initiative for more growth in Europe
During the 81st Franco-German Intergovernmental Consultations held in Berlin on September 18 the German and French governments approved a joint initiative for more economic growth in Europe. With their initiative Germany and France want to generate impetus for making their economies more competitive and creating more employment.
By lending support to related European initiatives the two countries want to help make the EU a highly competitive and dynamic economic area. The growth initiative will focus strongly on economic research, educational projects, and industrial policy challenges.
Investing in the future of Europe
Speaking to the press at the conclusion of the consultations Chancellor Schröder said their talks had centered around the joint growth initiative, which is intended to move Europe forward on the basis of the "European Action for Growth" proposal made by the Italian Presidency together with the EU Commission and the European Investment Bank. The initiative is aimed at implementing what was agreed at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, i.e. to turn Europe into an area of growth and competitiveness by expanding investments in infrastructures, human resources, as well as research and development.
Three-part strategy consisting of reforms, growth, and consolidation
Schröder noted that the joint initiative is based on a three-part strategy. Firstly, progress needs to be made in implementing necessary reforms in both countries. Secondly, in the current situation of incipient economic recovery there is a need to promote and support growth trends in accordance with the stability and growth pact. And thirdly, there is a need to generate impetus for growth with stimulus measures, but without giving up the objective of budget consolidation. Schröder explained that the initiative contains ten projects for more growth in Europe and that they are focused on the areas of telecommunications and data networks, research and development, transport, as well as sustainable growth.
Schröder went on to say that they also discussed the draft European constitution and that they share the view that the excellent work done by the European Convention should be preserved. Taking apart the package now assembled entails the risk of not being able to get it back together again, Schröder warned.
Concern over the situation in Ira
qCommenting on the foreign policy issues discussed by the two governments, President Jacques Chirac said they shared the same assessment of the situation in Iraq. He indicated that the situation needs to be stabilized and the country helped back on its feet. He said both governments are very concerned by the current state of affairs, adding that a policy focused only on security factors will not be able to achieve security, stability, and development in Iraq. He noted that it will be necessary to transfer government authority to the Iraqis as soon as possible, doing so under UN control, and that this should take place sometime within the next few months. He added that this was the joint view taken by the French and German governments.
The two governments adopted a joint declaration on interconnecting their high-speed railway lines ("TGV-Est" in France and "ICE" in Germany) by 2007. A joint declaration was also adopted on making progress in the area of transparency and comparability of career training qualifications.