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Thursday 27 March 2008

Joint UK-France Summit Declaration (27 March 2008)

27 March 2008

The United Kingdom and France agreed a joint declaration to work together at EU level and at international level on a number of policy areas.

Read the full declaration

JOINT UK-FRANCE SUMMIT DECLARATION - 27 MARCH 2008

The United Kingdom and France agree that, more than ever, our two countries shall act together, bilaterally, at EU level and at international level, to contribute to shape globalisation, which is the dominant feature of the international economy and has brought new opportunities to business and citizens but also new economic, social, environmental and security challenges. President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Brown agreed today that the UK and France will intensify cooperation and regular contacts, working together as a partnership of pioneers leading the global response to new international challenges. They approved joint work on a range of initiatives covering international institutions, foreign and defence policy, development, migration, climate change and energy, and global prosperity, including the promotion of practical responses to such challenges.

1. United Kingdom and France share a common analysis of the organisation of the 21st Century international order and proposals for a more effective international governance.

The world is changing. We need to deepen our common analysis of these ongoing changes and adapt our tools in order to respond to these new challenges, in particular in international fora.

International Institutions

Together we will work to forge an effective international system to meet 21st century challenges and to engage our international partners and multilateral organisations in the process. Our shared priorities are to shape the global institutions required to promote global economic prosperity; to protect the environment and tackle climate change; and to safeguard our global security. The UK and France will act:

- To develop international institutions which represent today’s world and are effective, looking at ways of reforming the G8 to reflect the emergence of new big players in the global economy. The Heiligendamm process launched under the German presidency of the G8 has framed a useful dialogue with China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. We are looking forward to the interim report which will be discussed at the Toyako Summit next July. We need to ensure that these major actors play their part in assuming common responsibility on global issues.

- To reform the UNSC, which has primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security. In the same spirit of adapting institutions to the new realities of the world, the UNSC should be reformed to ensure that it better represents the world of today, while remaining capable of taking the effective action necessary to confront today’s security challenges.

  • Reform of the UNSC, both its enlargement and the improvement of its working methods, must therefore succeed. We reaffirm the support of our two countries for the candidacies of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan for permanent membership, as well as for permanent representation for Africa on the Council.
  • We regret that negotiations towards this goal remain in deadlock and are therefore ready to consider an intermediate solution. This could include a new category of seats, with a longer term than those of the current elected members and those terms would be renewable; at the end of an initial phase, it could be decided to turn these new types of seats into permanent ones.
  • We will work with all our partners to define the parameters of such a reform.
  • UNSC reform requires a political commitment from the member states at the highest level. We will work in this direction in the coming months with a view to achieving effective reform.

- To ensure that our international institutions tackle development and climate change together and coordinate their action in order to harness greater resources and improve the management of the funding allocation to local projects in a cost-effective way.

- To address vigorously the current problems in financial markets. We agreed the need for greater transparency in financial markets to ensure that banks make full and prompt disclosure of the scale of write-offs, including finding ways to give greater certainty on the valuations of complex financial assets. We also agreed on the need to reinforce risk management and improve the functioning of financial markets. We urge further discussion with the US and others on measures to promote financial stability, including at the upcoming meetings in Washington of G7 Finance Ministers and the Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Within the EU and the G8, we will work, in line with the conclusions of the London summit and of the European Council, to swiftly and completely implement the EU roadmap agreed at the October 2007 ECOFIN, which encompasses reinforcement of the European framework and arrangements on cross-border financial supervision and the management of financial crisis situations.

- To secure global prosperity in a more turbulent global market place by reforming the IMF so that in concert with the Financial Stability Forum it provides a credible and authoritative early warning system for the world economy and international financial system.

- To respond effectively to the challenges of globalisation both externally and internally;

o Together we

  • Will engage with our partners in enhanced strategic co-operation and work together within stronger multilateral organisations.
  • Push for an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive agreement in the WTO negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda.

o Internally, at an EU and national level, we must undertake effective reform measures to ensure that our economy is fully benefiting from the realities of global competition. It is particularly important to stimulate entrepreneurship and to create the conditions for small businesses to prosper. Together we will:

  • Secure an EU Small Business Act that delivers a package of measures aimed at cutting EU regulation for small businesses, including making more use of exemptions from regulations, embedding a small firms filter into the EU legislative process and introducing Common Commencement Dates at the EU level.
  • Ensure the Act gives impetus to removing barriers to EU-wide venture capital investment, making the Single Market more attractive to SMEs and fostering better SME access to public procurement.
  • Promote a culture of entrepreneurship throughout Europe and support Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008.

Our international institutions are critical to safeguarding global security, but they lack the capabilities they need in key areas. In relation to tackling conflict, we will go further in improving international capacity for stabilisation and post-conflict recovery.

Together we will;

- Develop stronger international capacity through the UN and EU to deal with every stage in the conflict cycle, from the threat of conflict through peacekeeping, to stabilisation and post-conflict reconstruction;

  • We will each commit qualified civilians, to be available for stabilisation under the EU’s Civilian Headline Goal 2010 targets, in advance of the reports for the November Council. We look to others to make similar commitments;
  • We will back our commitment to the EU goal with a joint UK-FR conference on using expeditionary civilian missions to boost the rule of law in regions affected by conflict including sharing best practice on stabilisation force generation;

We call for 2008 to be the year for EU civilian missions to make decisive impact on conflict: Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Kosovo, with reports back to the Council in December;

We recognise the particular issues in Africa. Together we will:

- Develop our cooperation to secure Africa’s peace and security through training, technical and financial support to the African Union’s African Standby Force (ASF) for peace keeping operations. In close cooperation with our European partners we will work together to support African exercises to support the ASF in the framework of the Euro-RECAMP programme as well as security sector reform in Africa in close cooperation with our European partners.

- Work with the G8 and other members of the international community to contribute to the funding of African-led peace support operations.

- Take steps towards the establishment of a predictable and sustainable funding mechanism, building on the experience of the African Peace Facility and EU and AU Member States’ bilateral contributions.

- Work together to reinforce support by the UN for peace-keeping operations undertaken by the AU or under its authority, within the framework of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.

International Development

We agreed that this was a critical year for development. At the halfway point towards the MDGs it is clear that we need to do more. We are committed to the development of Africa and will renew our efforts towards achievement of the MDGs and the promotion of effective economic growth and development of the private sector. As members of the EU, we are committed to the announced timetables of contributing 0.7% of GNI to ODA. We will also work to focus more on results.

Together we will;

- Build a new partnership to get 16 million children into school in Africa by 2010 and every child by 2015. Halfway to 2015 the challenge is still great, with 33 million children in Africa still getting no primary education at all. The UK and France will each support 8 million children in school by 2010. We will do this in partnership with FIFA, the English FA and Premier League and Ligue professionnelle de football and the Fédération française de football in the run up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa so as to leverage the tremendous impact of that event in Africa and around the world. The UK and France challenge others to help finance the remaining out of school children, to ensure we are back on track to achieve Universal Primary Education in Africa by 2015. We will also place a renewed emphasis on the quality of education, and the monitoring and measurement of learning outcomes. As a priority, we will work with others to recruit and train the estimated additional 3.8 million teachers required to reach universal primary education in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015. We will also support country efforts to improve school management, so that new resources bring about quality education for all.

- Work to deliver a step change on health in developing countries particularly in tackling the diseases of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS. This first means keeping our commitment to get as close as possible to universal access to prevention, care and treatment of HIV and AIDS by 2010. This also includes work to deliver a step change in reducing maternal deaths. Every minute a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth. As signatories to the International Health Partnership, the UK and France are today committing to ensure that our work to strengthen health systems will focus on achieving demonstrable reductions in maternal mortality. Halfway to 2015, Africa still lacks the 1.5 million health workers it needs to provide effective health services to mothers and children. The UK and France will help tackle this crisis through exploring how innovative mechanisms can help finance health systems, including through the International Finance Facility for Immunisation. And since mothers and children are also the most vulnerable to malaria, we are today committing to work with others to ensure that every mother and child to be able to sleep under a mosquito bed-net by 2010. In furthering work on maternal health, we will promote links between UK and French health institutions. We agreed to explore the development of all options for financing universal access to health services including the contribution of health insurance. This question will be the theme of a major conference that will take place in Paris on May 7th 2008.

- Work to ensure that the UN meeting in September for governments, private sector, faith organisations and NGOs, agrees commitments in order to reach the MDGs by 2015.

- Work within the EU in the coming year - at the June European Council and during the French Presidency - for an ambitious EU development action plan, to include action aimed at stimulating the private sector and growth with a view to achieving our goals on poverty reduction;

- Underline the need to take the specific needs of fragile states into account at the high-level Forum of Accra in September 2008. We call for an international consensus on a realistic set of common objectives for state building, peace building and conflict prevention, with a specific focus on appropriate indicators and measures of progress;

- Continue to promote innovative mechanisms for the financing of development;

- Work jointly to facilitate the most effective and secure transfer of remittances. In addition, we will pay careful attention to the best use of this resource for the support of local economies;

- As members of the Commonwealth and the Francophonie respectively, we will work to encourage these organisations to promote democratic governance.

2. United Kingdom and France will act and cooperate to strengthen the stability of the world bilateraly and within international institutions (EU, NATO, UN…)

The UK and France will strengthen their co-operation on Foreign and Security Policy. The Foreign Ministers of our two countries will jointly take this commitment forward.

Foreign Policy and International Crises

Together we;

- Reaffirm our determination to work for stabilisation and peace in the Balkans. We agreed to make further efforts, together with our European partners, particularly within mission EULEX, to help the authorities of Kosovo establish the rule of law, thereby allowing all communities to live in peace and security. We recalled our wish to see Serbia progress towards her European future and will help Belgrade work in this direction.

- We strongly condemn recent attacks in West Darfur by Government of Sudan and rebel forces, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians, which are in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions. There can be no military solution to the crisis in Darfur. We endorse the call by the UN High Commission for Human Rights on the Government of Sudan to stop aerial attacks and use of armed militia groups in the conduct of military operations, and on rebel groups to stop deliberate attacks targeting civilians and to refrain from involving civilians in conflict including as human shields. The UK and France will work to reinvigorate the peace process in Darfur, in the context of the UNSCR 1769, supporting the efforts of the UN and AU co-mediators. We call on the Government of Sudan and the rebels to engage in a negotiating process. We will take joint measures to facilitate the earliest deployment of UNAMID in Darfur and call on the Government of Sudan to fully cooperate with UNAMID in this regard. The UK and France will consider joint action against parties committing atrocities on the ground, and those who hamper the peace process or deployment of UNAMID.

We will drive forward the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which put an end to the war between North and South Sudan, supporting especially the preparation of the 2009 elections which will be decisive for the future of Sudan. On the regional level, we will act in favour of the normalization of the relations between Sudan and Chad without which there can be no sustainable stability in Chad, nor peace in Darfur. We call on Sudan and Chad to abide by the agreements they signed, notably the agreement signed in Dakar, and to implement effective follow-up mechanisms. The two countries recall their full support for the EU operation in Eastern Chad.

- Remain concerned about the ongoing humanitarian, political and economic situation in Zimbabwe and conditions on the ground, which may endanger the holding of free and fair Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

- Emphasize that a just and lasting peace in the Middle-East will only be possible with the creation of a modern, independent and democratic Palestinian State. We strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks. A solution can only be reached by negotiation. We remain committed to the political process that was initiated in Annapolis last year and urge the parties to achieve progress on the ground. The parties need to end settlement activity and take steps to improve security. We welcome the achievements of the Paris Donors’ Conference and look forward to the upcoming donor co-ordination meeting to be held in London in May. We support all efforts to end violence. We are deeply concerned by the deteriorating of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and we ask for the opening of the crossings and stand ready through EUBAM to provide any assistance deemed necessary.

- The ongoing political crisis in Lebanon also remains a serious concern. We underlined our continued support for the Government of Lebanon and for the Arab League’s efforts to help achieve a solution. We called for the election of consensus President in Lebanon as soon as possible.

- Afghanistan is a strategic challenge. With the support of the Afghan government, we are determined to stay with our Allies as long as necessary to ensure stability of the country. We will continue to work on rebuilding Afghanistan as a top priority, with the objective of enabling the Afghan population and institutions to take responsibility of the future of their country. And together we will continue to promote effective governance and rule of law. We will renew our efforts to tackle the scourge of the narcotics industry, which funds the insurgency, fuels corruption and criminality and undermines the prospects for development for the people of Afghanistan. France and UK call on all partners to join their effort for the success of the Support Conference to be held in Paris in June.

- We are united in our determination to resolve the Iranian proliferation challenge: we welcome the very broad support for UNSCR 1803; call on Iran to comply fully; urge early, full implementation of the sanctions it imposes, and call on our EU partners to establish additional measures in support of our shared objectives: Iran must realise that the cost of continuing to defy its international obligations will only grow. We reaffirm our continuing readiness to positively engage with Iran on the basis of E3+3 ambitious proposals.

- Continue to work together in the UN Security Council, the EU and with partners in the region to encourage democratic transition and respect for human rights in Burma. Our immediate priorities are to support the UN Secretary General’s good offices mission, and to focus on the deep flaws in the regime’s proposals for a referendum and new constitution, with a view to making the political process genuinely inclusive and credible. We stand ready to respond positively to political evolution in Burma or increase pressure on the regime if it continues to ignore the international community’s demands.

- Welcome the power-sharing agreement in Kenya brokered by Kofi Annan. It provides the road-map to end the political crisis and to achieve essential reforms needed to restore Kenya to the path of prosperity, democracy and stability. The UK and France will continue to work closely together within the framework of the EU and with other international partners to support the full implementation of the agreement.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY

As permanent members of the UN Security Council, we are fully determined to work closely together to maintain international peace and security worldwide and resolve international crises.

We face the same security challenges. Our strategic and security interests are closely interlinked. We cannot imagine a situation in which the vital interests of one of us, but not the other, are under threat. We cannot imagine a situation in which the vital interests of either of our two nations, France and the United Kingdom, could be threatened without the vital interests of the other also being threatened.

Our Armed Forces work hand in hand. We intend to further intensify our bilateral defence cooperation in all aspects and to seek synergies between our industrial, R&D and market policies.

Ten years after Saint Malo, which launched European Security and Defence Policy, we stress our continuing common determination to play a leading role in defence and security, both in Europe and within the Atlantic Alliance, and in close cooperation with our partners and Allies.

We call on all our European partners to take decisive steps to strengthen European military and civilian crisis management capabilities during the French presidency of the EU.

Together, we will:

- Counter the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, their means of delivery, equipments and materials worldwide and related terrorist risks. Our commitment applies equally to state and non-state actors. We will resist any attempt to weaken the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is a cornerstone of international security. We will also work together towards the establishment of an IAEA-led system of nuclear fuel assurances to reduce the proliferation risks.

- Support international efforts to control conventional weapons, in particular an early start to negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty and the early achievement of international agreements banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilian populations.

- Cooperate closely on counter terrorism through a wide range of actions, from threat analysis to technical and operational cooperation. We will work together to combat nuclear terrorism by screening traffic including that passing through the Channel Tunnel. We will put a new emphasis on developing concerted responses to the development of violent extremism in our societies, including radicalisation and recruitment and terrorist propaganda, including through the internet. We have asked our officials to organise a seminar to share experience and best practice. We have also agreed to work together to develop proposals for the June European Council on how EU counter-radicalisation efforts might be deepened, for example by devoting more EU spending to counter radicalisation work. We reaffirm in all this our commitment to respect in full the rule of law and human rights.

- Remain committed to the close cooperation of our intelligence and security services to counter common threats, particularly from terrorism, whilst recognising that intelligence and national security remain each State’s sole responsibility.

- Foster our bilateral dialogue on nuclear deterrence.

- Work together to prepare our two countries to emerging challenges such as cyber-security, space security and missile threat.

- Work together to face organised crime and fight narcotics trafficking.

- Cooperate to develop European military capabilities, available to both the EU and NATO, in particular in the fields of :

- Carrier Group operations: by facilitating the generation of a combined maritime strike capability when required for national, EU-led or NATO operations. This capability could be expanded to other European countries able and willing to make a contribution.

- A 400M: France and the UK will pursue a common approach to in service support for interoperability and through life cycle costs optimisation, including common configuration management with other A400M nations; our aim is to cover the requirements of both France and the UK in a single joint contract.

- Helicopters: by addressing critical shortfalls in capability which constrain the deployment of helicopters in operations. Support will be given to initiatives such as pilot operational and advanced training courses, upgrading aircraft and establishment of a trust fund that could improve the availability of helicopters to our European partners and NATO allies. Other nations are invited to contribute to this effort. We support both the EDA and NATO’s role in addressing European helicopter capability shortfalls.

- Contribute to current initiatives and work to modernise NATO, in particular to streamline its organisation, reform its defence planning, improve its capability for expeditionary operations and encourage burden-sharing.

- Work to strengthen EU/NATO cooperation and interaction, in particular the ability to operate together in the same theatre.

- Give a new impetus to our bilateral industrial defence cooperation, which contributes to reinforcing European and Allied capabilities :

- by increasing our joint R&D effort with each of us providing 50M€ per year for common projects ;
- by reviewing in a systematic fashion possible cooperation between our respective capability programmes ;
- by establishing measures to facilitate transfers between our two countries and between companies ;
- by pursuing a joint industrial strategy for complex weapons working towards future concepts and technologies for common programmes such as SCALP / Stormshadow, anti-ship missiles and combat missiles and making more effective use of our respective industrial capabilities and skills to deliver our military requirements for weapons, particularly where these are common;
- by ensuring that both countries possess the appropriate processes under which information can be exchanged freely and effectively between us and the respective complex weapons companies;
- by ensuring better opportunity for small and medium size companies in armament projects, through a range of measures;
- by signing an agreement to encourage cross-investments in the defence sector and remove any potential obstacles ;
- by agreeing to exchange classified data to facilitate defence cooperation ;
- by supporting implementation of High Level Working Group recommendations in accordance with future national decisions on resources.

3. United Kingdom and France agree to establish a strong cooperation towards EU priorities as migration, energy and climate change, and bilateral matters such as education.

MIGRATION AND INTEGRATION

Migration is an international issue which requires international cooperation. Migratory flows have increased considerably and there are already 200 million migrants worldwide. We expect there to be increasing pressure on people to move over the next decade as populations grow and globalisation increases the opportunities. UK and France share the conviction that ensuring migration benefits all is one of the major challenges of the 21st Century.

UK-France cooperation has been excellent and our starting point is how we have managed to tackle illegal migration through France and in particular the north by working together on strong juxtaposed controls and in closing down the centres that acted as a magnet for traffickers. Our cooperation however must reach further and include efforts to tackle the smugglers and traffickers who profit from the movement of people as well as working with countries of transit and origin to better manage migration.

Together we will;
§ Strengthen the security and quality of border controls at Calais by carrying out a joint security audit, reinforcing security fences around the port, and launching a joint study on creating a fast-track system to lighten controls on specific goods vehicles. Cooperate to ensure there is no new permanent centre for migrants at Calais or elsewhere on the Channel coast.
§ Work together to create a joint action plan to tackle the continuing migratory pressure from irregular migrants in the Pas de Calais. This will include exchange of data to enhance identification, cooperation on re-documentation and joint flights where necessary.
§ Support EU projects to build capacity in major source countries under the banner of the global approach to migration; run a seminar on assisted voluntary return from transit countries; work together to make the second Euro-African ministerial conference on migration and development, which will take place in Paris in October 2008, a success.

§ Work to take forward a new Migration Pact under the French Presidency of the EU, which will strengthen the EU’s response to illegal immigration and improve co-operation with source countries. We will also look at how Member States and the EU can make legal migration a success both for citizens and migrants by helping them to integrate and make a positive contribution to our society and their own.

§ Work bilaterally and in the EU to tackle those who seek to abuse the rights of free movement through criminal activity or abuse the rights and benefits offered in our countries. To this end, we will intensify the cooperation between the Serious Organised Crimes Agency and the Office central de repression de l’immigration irrégulière et de l’emploi des étrangers sans titre (OCRIEST).

§ Support the effort of Member States to use new technologies in border controls and visa issues and call upon Member States to issue biometric visas by 2011. Work together on making greatest use of biometric visas data to better fix the identities of those seeking to abuse our systems and to return them to their countries of origin.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY

The UK and France are determined that the EU remains at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change, working towards an ambitious and fair international agreement at Copenhagen at the end of 2009. We will strongly work towards a global agreement containing the main elements agreed in Bali, including a shared vision on long term goals, differentiated commitments of the countries with regard to their level of development and emissions, a balanced treatment of mitigation and adaptation measures, an ambitious decision on development and diffusion of technologies, as well as an effective and coherent international financing framework for delivering objectives of such a post-2012 agreement.

An expanded global carbon market, as well as other financing mechanisms and tools for assisting developing countries with mitigation and adaptation, will need to form part of a comprehensive post-2012 agreement. This global agreement must ensure a proper convergence between the combat against climate change and development, in a way which provides ownership for all the countries concerned. Furthermore, we are committed to a key role of the GEF alongside other financial mechanisms of the UNFCCC, notably the adaptation fund, as well as other mechanisms such as the Clean Energy Investment Framework which have an important role to play. The UK and France are committed to working together to ensure the complementarity and coordination of these as part of an effective international response to climate change post 2012. However, a more concerted effort to scale up investment and financing to meet the challenge of climate change and sustainable development is also required before 2012.

Together we will;

- Explore jointly the different initiatives which are currently under development, notably the Clean Energy Investment Framework of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), as well as on the reinforcement and appropriate replenishment of the existing mechanisms, in particular the GEF, whilst ensuring a proper coordination between them. A review of such initiatives and reinforced mechanisms should be done as part of agreeing the overall financial architecture of the post-2012 agreement.
- Work together to integrate development and environment, encouraging developing countries to benefit from integrating climate change early in their overall development strategies.
- Promote the development of a global carbon market as bi- and multilateral public funding must supplement the private sector in bearing the costs of mitigation. We will enable the EU ETS to link to other mandatory emissions trading systems capping absolute emissions as building blocks in the global carbon market to deliver lowest cost emissions reductions. We seek to bring emerging economies into effective sectoral agreements, with benefits shared between emerging and developed countries.
- Undertake joint work to strengthen the carbon market, including enhancing and strengthening the Clean Development Mechanism, and removing barriers to greater uptake of the Clean Development Mechanism in the less developed countries, especially in Africa, by French and British commercial interests.
- Work to consider new mechanisms to address deforestation and ensure sustainable management of forests and other natural resources.
- Undertake joint work to accelerate development and deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the EU, through agreement on a CCS Action Plan during the French EU Presidency. We call for the Commission to bring forward a proposal for a mechanism to deliver 10-12 CCS demonstration plants by 2015. We agree to work together to promote the CCS both inside and outside EU, notably in China through accelerating the "cooperation action within CO2 capture and storage" (COACH) and the Near Zero Emissions Coal initiative (NZEC).

We will actively contribute to obtain an EU agreement, as soon as possible, on the climate-energy package. We welcome the ambition of the Commission’s package, in particular setting out how the EU can meet a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the context of an international agreement. We will act to create a low carbon economy in Europe and to promote it worldwide.

Together we will;

- Make every possible effort to reach agreement on the climate change and renewable energy package before the end of 2008 with a view to its adoption within the current legislative term, at the latest early in 2009, seeking an equitable distribution of effort in achieving the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets between Member States in the most cost-effective way. In this regard, the national goals in the development of renewable energies should take into account the different national circumstances, the overall share of low carbon technologies, starting points and potentials including the existing energy mix.
- Support the proposed level of the EU ETS central cap and a clear long-term downward trajectory to 2020 and beyond to deliver real greenhouse gas emission reductions and provide business with the certainty to invest in a low-carbon economy.
- Urge the Commission to include environmentally-friendly products in the legislative proposal on reduced rates of VAT to be examined during the French presidency.
- Co-operate on the development of robust sustainability criteria for biofuels and on evaluation of the indirect impacts of biofuels production.
- Urgently analyse and address the risk of carbon leakage in order for appropriate measures to be implemented in the event that other countries do not commit to taking adequate measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the context of an international agreement. An international agreement remains the best way of addressing this issue.
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of nuclear development projects, including in safety and pre-licensing, through our nuclear regulators working closely together to share information on nuclear safety, security and waste management, action which could be extended to other interested European partners (and which could include as appropriate other items of common interests). We will explore opportunities to increase the interchange of regulatory staff between the two countries.
- Welcome the joint report from the High Representative and the Commission on the impact of climate change and international security. Agree to work together, and with the Desertification Commission and the African Union, in providing regional analysis of the Sahel to East Africa region on the security and development implications of climate change.
- Collaborate in the development of a comprehensive EU energy security strategy for the EU, a theme that will be strongly fostered during the French Presidency.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Equipping our citizens with the right skills is crucial in enabling them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation, with education and skills central to ensuring an effective and well-functioning social dimension in Europe.

Together we will
- Ensure that the Spring European Council’s call on the Commission to present a comprehensive assessment of future skills requirements in Europe up to 2020 is followed-up under the French Presidency, and urge the Commission to work in collaboration with Member States and to launch the review as soon as possible.
- Continue our long tradition of learning each other’s languages including through our Memorandum of Understanding:
- We will step up cooperation in teaching the partner’s language at primary level with an emphasis on the use of information and communications technology and the development of links between schools.
- We will develop greater collaboration in the field of Content and Language Integrated Learning, particularly at primary level.
- We will look closely at the evaluation of existing bilingual schemes and consider how practice could be applied more widely.
- We will also explore the feasibility of a bilingual option in the new Languages Diploma, which will be developed by the Diploma Development Partnership.

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