Ondertekening van een verdrag over Frans-Nederlands militaire samenwerking op het eiland Sint Maarten na orkaan IRMA (30 januari 2017, Den Haag) [fr]

Op uitnodiging van de Ambassadeur van Frankrijk en de Defensieattaché, hebben vele vertegenwoordigers van de Nederlandse strijdkrachten op 30 januari deelgenomen aan een receptie die werd gehouden in de Residentie van Frankrijk. Tijdens deze gelegenheid ondertekenden de Ambassadeur, Philippe Lalliot, namens de Franse Republiek, en de plaatsvervangend gevolmachtigd minister van Sint-Maarten, Hasani Ellis, namens het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, een verdrag over faciliteiten die aan de Franse strijdkrachten aangeboden worden op het Nederlandse deel van het eiland Sint-Maarten. Dit verdrag markeert de uitstekende samenwerking tussen Frankrijk en Nederland tijdens de crisissituatie op Sint-Maarten na orkaan Irma, en tot op de dag van vandaag.

Kolonel Sylvain Nogrette, Defensieattaché, gaf een historische uiteenzetting over een unieke gebeurtenis in de militaire geschiedenis: de Slag bij Texel. Op 23 januari 1795 vond er een ongekende Franse bestorming plaats op de bevroren wateren voor Den Helder, waarbij men zich meester maakte van de oorlogsvloot van de Verenigde Provinciën, die zat vastgevroren in het ijs. Vervolgens benadrukte de Defensieattaché ons wapenbroederschap tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog en in huidige operaties. De uitstekende Frans-Nederlandse samenwerking in de Antillen, Mali, de Levant en binnenkort in Litouwen, wordt zeer gewaardeerd door Frankrijk. De Ambassadeur sprak in zijn toespraak over de toekomst van de Franse en Europese Defensie, en over de voorstellen in het Europese kader van de President van de Republiek Emmanuel Macron, ter gelegenheid van zijn Sorbonne-toespraak op 26 september 2017 en tijdens zijn nieuwjaarswensen aan de Franse strijdkrachten op 19 januari 2018 in Toulon.

Philippe Lalliot sprak ook zijn waardering uit over de uitstekende samenwerking van de Ambassade met het Nederlandse interdepartementale team dat achtereenvolgens verantwoordelijk was voor noodoperaties en de wederopbouw van het Nederlandse deel van Sint-Maarten na de orkaan Irma.

Nadat de Nederlandse, Franse en Europese volksliederen gespeeld waren door een muziekkwintet van de cavalerie dat speciaal uit Metz was gekomen, zetten de gasten in een gezellige sfeer hun gesprekken voort, onder het genot van typisch Franse producten.

Toespraak van Philippe Lalliot, Ambassadeur van Frankrijk in Nederland

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,

You know better than anyone how dangerous is the world in which we live and how precious is the cooperation between nations that share the same values, such as France and the Netherlands.

The threats and risks already identified in the 2013 French White Paper materialized more rapidly and more forcefully than expected. Jihadist terrorism, which struck repeatedly France and our European neighbors, is evolving and expanding to new regions. It thrives on chaos, civil war and the fragility of some States. Addressing this threat will remain a high priority for our countries.

Simultaneously, Europe is seeing a resumption of open warfare and displays of force on its doorstep, alongside the greatest concentration of challenges it has faced since the end of the Cold War: a migration crisis, persistent vulnerability in the Sahel-Sahara region and enduring destabilization in the Middle East.

The international system that emerged after the Cold War is giving way to a multipolar environment subject to radical changes. Instability and unpredictability are its dominant features. A growing number of established as well as emerging powers are increasingly showing military assertiveness, involving power politics and “fait accompli”. Such assertiveness also fuels competition regarding access to resources and control of physical and virtual strategic areas, including oceans, airspace, outer space and cyberspace.

In this highly uncertain at best, at worst dangerous context, Europeans need to defend themselves. This is not new. Within NATO, all nations already agreed on spending 2% of their GDP on Defense. And the United States has been for years advocating burden sharing.

It is not new but after Brexit and the election of the new US president, it becomes all the more relevant. France takes Defence very seriously and has planned unprecedented budgetary effort. In 2018, France will spend 34.2 billion euros for Defence. It represents an increase of 1.8 billion per year until 2022 then 3 billion per year in 2023. It will reach 2% of GDP by 2025. The Netherlands shares the same ambition, has made the same commitment towards NATO and is on the same track. Those efforts of individual nations will at the end of the day benefit Europe as a whole.

25 member states of the EU agreed last December on a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). The Netherlands initiated the “Military Schengen” project in order to facilitate the transit of military forces, personnel and equipment throughout Europe. It is a major step for collective Defence but also for any kind of crisis response, including disaster relief operations.

France is also promoting strategic autonomy for Europe, based on shared security interests, and supports enhancing the EU’s tools and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), including both permanent structured cooperation and the European Defence Fund.

As the President Macron stated in his speech at the Sorbonne on 26 September, France intends to launch new projects, such as the European Intervention Initiative, with partners that have the necessary military capabilities and political will.

This initiative will help develop a shared strategic culture among Europeans, making them better operate together in the future. The objective is for Europeans to have common doctrines, the capability for credible joint intervention and appropriate common budget instruments by the beginning of the next decade.

At the same time, France will continue to shoulder its full responsibilities within NATO, including collective defence and reassurance. Relying on our network of partnerships around the world, from Africa and the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region, we will continue to do our best to enhance international peace and security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sharing the same values, standards and challenges, our forces are deployed shoulder to shoulder in many areas of operations: in Sahel, in the Middle East, in the Baltic States and off the Coast of Africa. France has warmly welcomed the Dutch government decision, at the end of last year, to extend in 2018 the mandates for Dutch participation in MINUSMA in Mali, the anti-ISIS coalition and Resolute Support in Afghanistan.

In the Caribbean, our forces have a 24/7 cooperation. Hurricane Irma confirmed its relevance, in support of the population on both sides of the island. Our excellent cooperation allowed for the rapid deployment of personnel to provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. In Paris and The Hague, the Embassies of our two countries have also played their role, sharing information and coordinating closely with the Emergency Teams and now the inter-ministerial Delegates for the reconstruction of the Island.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the Embassy interlocutors in this crisis, from the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Affairs and Minbuza. I would also like to thank the Defense mission of the Embassy headed by Colonel Nogrette.

The facilities granted then to our military have been, for the most part, extended today. The agreement, which has now come into force, confirms the will of our governments to continue improving our cooperation.

Our common action in Saint-Martin presents for me an exemplary character. It reflects the quality of the bilateral relationship between France and The Netherlands, based on the greatest confidence, in all areas. We can have differences on this or that issue, it’s normal, but when the essential is at stake, we know we can count on each other.

At the beginning of this New Year, I hope Franco-Dutch cooperation, already of an exceptional level, will be further strengthened in the coming months, in the best interest of each of our two countries.

Thank you./.

gepubliceerd op 01/02/2018

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