Signature d’un accord sur la coopération militaire franco-néerlandaise sur l’île de Saint-Martin suite au passage de l’ouragan Irma (30 janvier 2017, La Haye) [nl]
De nombreux représentants des forces armées néerlandaises ont participé, à l’invitation de l’Ambassadeur et de l’Attaché de Défense, le 30 janvier, à une réception à la Résidence de France. A cette occasion , l’Ambassadeur, M. Philippe Lalliot, au nom de la République française, et le ministre plénipotentiaire adjoint de Sint Maarten, M. Hasani Ellis, au nom du Royaume des Pays-Bas, ont procédé à la signature d’un accord sur les facilités offertes aux forces françaises du côté néerlandais de l’île de Saint-Martin. Cet accord marque l’excellente coopération entre la France et les Pays-Bas suite au passage de l’ouragan Irma à Saint-Martin, dans la phase d’urgence et jusqu’aujourd’hui.
Le colonel Sylvain Nogrette, Attaché de Défense, après l’évocation historique de la bataille de Texel qui a vu, le 23 janvier 1795, une charge française sans précédent sur des eaux gelées, devant Den Helder, pour s’emparer de navires de la flotte de guerre des Provinces Unies pris dans les glaces, a souligné notre fraternité d’armes pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale et dans les opérations en cours. La France se félicite de l’excellente coopération franco-néerlandaise aux Antilles, au Mali, au Levant et prochainement en Lituanie. Dans son intervention, l’Ambassadeur a évoqué l’avenir de la Défense, française et européenne, et les propositions du Président de la République, Emmanuel Macron, dans le cadre européen, à l’occasion de son discours de la Sorbonne du 26 septembre 2017 et lors de ses vœux aux armées françaises, le 19 janvier de cette année, à Toulon. M. Philippe Lalliot a salué également l’excellente coopération de l’Ambassade avec l’équipe interministérielle néerlandaise chargée successivement des opérations d’urgence et de la reconstruction de la partie néerlandaise de Saint-Martin, suite à l’ouragan Irma.
Après l’interprétation des hymnes néerlandais, français et européen par un quintette de la musique de la cavalerie, venue spécialement de Metz, les échanges se sont poursuivis, dans une atmosphère particulièrement conviviale, autour de produits français.
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.