Joint France-Sweden statement

Stockholm – 18 September 2015.

1. Our bilateral relationship is rich in economic, cultural and human terms. Our friendship is deeply rooted in a common history and has been reconfirmed at the recent State Visit to France by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia. The ties between our two countries have never been stronger than they are today. A deepening of our dialogue, based on common values, confidence and mutual understanding, will help us find concrete answers. Our cooperation will be carried out in an open, flexible and pragmatic manner. It will be responsive to evolving events, challenges and opportunities.

2. At European level, we are pursuing the same goal of working in an inclusive way for a Europe of growth and jobs, a Europe that invests in its future and its youth by promoting an ambitious social model. We want Europe to step up its efforts to find a common solution to the migration crisis. We want Europe to play a leading role in the fight against climate change and we are committed to an ambitious outcome for COP21. We want an influential Europe that promotes sustainable development as well as prevents and resolves conflicts in a spirit of solidarity and assistance as its response to crises.

3. Sweden and France share a common vision regarding international relations. Our countries are deeply committed to promoting the United Nations and working together for peace, security and human rights. We will promote closer collaboration in the area of development cooperation. Our countries are convinced of the importance of combating terrorism.

4. Determined to strengthen our partnership and convergences at European level, we have decided on the following measures:

a) To increase our efforts to respond to the migration crisis situation by advocating increased responsibility and solidarity among all Member States. It is crucial that all Member States fully apply to the agreed asylum acquis. Improving the European asylum procedures and reinforcing the harmonisation of national rules will, in due time, lead to a truly common European asylum system. Another important component of a comprehensive, balanced and long-term EU migration policy is increased resettlement. In the run up to the conference concerning the Western Balkans and the Valletta Summit on migration, we will address international protection and asylum, prevention and the fight against migrant smuggling, cooperation with countries oforiginandtransit and mobility opportunities, focusing on development effects, root causes of irregular migration and return issues.

b) To foster initiatives to boost competitiveness and growth in Europe and increase the number of jobs through investment, innovation, free trade agreements, better regulation, structural reforms and sound public finances. At EU level, the investment plan will contribute to increase investments and improve the investment climate, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. A joint effort will be undertaken, in cooperation with representatives of the French and Swedish business sectors and public institutions, to find the best ways to promote innovation and competitiveness.

c) To take joint action to promote social convergence in Europe, including protecting workers’ rights, encouraging mobility while ensuring a sustainable level of social protection through the portability of social rights, and promoting women’s labour market participation as important factors for growth, employment, competitiveness and social justice. We are committed to promoting a common view, as regards the improvement of working conditions and,  preventing social dumping within the EU, as expressed by Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in a joint letter of 18 June  to the European Commission, in which we welcome the initiative to start a ‘targeted review’ of the Posting of Workers Directive. We call on Swedish and French social partners to support these common endeavours by working together.

d) To strengthen our cooperation in preventing extremism and fighting radicalisation, for example in schools, youth detention centres, prisons and on the internet and social media. A French-Swedish seminar will take place on 18 September in Stockholm to exchange views on the best ways of fighting radicalisation, and Mona Sahlin, the Swedish National Coordinator against Violent Extremism, will be invited to visit France as part of the work to identify key partners among local authorities and civil society.

e) To continue our strong mobilisation in fighting climate change, with the aim of achieving a legally binding and universal climate agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015 that, over time, contributes to keeping global warming below two degrees. The full mobilisation of civil society and the promotion of a positive agenda, at local and national level, both from the public and the private sector, will be a key point. We encourage Swedish and French think tanks to provide us with new ideas on ‘green solutions’.  We will continue to consult one another and exchange good practices on eco-friendly solutions for buildings, all modes of transportation, and green and smart cities.

f) To continue to promote a strong European foreign policy. We will jointly identify ideas to feed into a new EU global strategy. We will seek progress in the Middle East peace process and promote a strong EU engagement in our southern and eastern neighbourhoods. Together, we will enhance multilateral cooperation through the United Nations and advance shared objectives, such as our cooperation in promoting safe and secure developments in Mali.

Representatives of our Governments will meet, as appropriate, to further the objectives of the deepened dialogue.