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Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G7 summit in Ise-Shima, Japan

EU News 181/2016


Good morning, おはようございます

Allow me to start with a short historical remark. Being here in Japan at the summit of the G7 nations who share common values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law, one should never forget that this cooperation is the result of lessons learnt from a dark history. 71 years ago we were still at war with one another, at war that cost tens of millions of lives around the world. And today we commit ourselves to building a safer world for all.

The G7 is the strongest defender of a rule-based international order not because we want to protect the wealthy. But because the rules are there in the first place to protect the weak, while in a world without rules it is the strongest and the most brutal who are winning. This simple truth needs to be remembered, especially today, when the respect for a global rule-based order is put into question. The example of the G7 countries, our ability to compete but also to cooperate and to take into account not only our own interests, should inspire others.

Let me now turn to the migration and refugee crisis. We are aware that it is because of geography that the most responsibility is and will continue to be placed on Europe. However, we would also like the global community to show solidarity and recognise the fact that this is a global crisis. Therefore, we will seek the support of our G7 partners in three dimensions.

First, to commit to increasing global assistance so that immediate and long term needs of refugees and host communities are met. The international community should acknowledge that when Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan assist refugees, they are in fact providing a global public good. And this public good must be financed by the global community.

Second, that the G7 encourages international financial institutions and other donors to raise their assistance. In this regard the EU funds for Syria, Africa and Turkey, along with the work of the European Investment Bank serve as a role model for all of us.

Third, that the G7 encourages the establishment of resettlement schemes and other legal forms of migration all around the world. As you know Europe is doing a lot and we are happy to share our experiences. But the world has been confronted with the highest number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons since the Second World War. This is why more action is needed to make legal channels of migration possible. Those who criticise us should rather think how to increase their assistance because what Europe provides is already massive.

In all the above mentioned three dimensions we need the leadership of G7. And honestly speaking if we do not take the lead in managing this crisis nobody else will. I will appeal to G7 leaders to take up this challenge.

Two years ago, the G7 demonstrated unity with Europe when the conflict in Ukraine erupted. And we remain united during this conflict. The European Union, as the entire G7, continues to believe that this crisis can only be resolved in full compliance with the international law, especially the legal obligation to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. I want to state clearly that our stance vis-à-vis Russia, including economic sanctions, will remain unchanged as long as the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented. Unfortunately, there is much less progress on the implementation of Minsk than we had hoped for one year ago in Elmau.

Speaking of the international rule-based order, I would like to underline that it needs to be respected not only in Ukraine but in all parts of the world, and not only on land but also at sea. The policy of the G7 is clear: any maritime or territorial claim should be based on the international law and any possible dispute should be resolved by peaceful means. Unilateral actions and the use of force or coercion will not be accepted.

Finally, let me turn to the situation in Europe. I am happy to say that the Eurogroup agreement sends a strong message of stability for Greece, for the Eurozone but also for the global economy. Here I would like to thank the Greek people, and especially Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for their determination to end this crisis by reforming the country. The Greek tragedy will not be restaged.

At the G7 summit we will be discussing the British in/out referendum and its consequences. You know that I am hoping for a positive outcome and I can assure you that all of the G7 leaders meeting here have the same view.

Before I finish let me make the last point. The test of our credibility as the G7 is our ability to defend the common values that we share. This test will only be passed if we take a clear and tough stance on every topic of our discussions here in Ise-Shima. I refer in particular to the issue of maritime security at the South and East China Seas, Russia/Ukraine issue and free and fair trade. If we are to defend our common values, it is not enough these days to only believe in them. We also have to be ready to protect them. The real challenge is even greater because these values are not only questioned by states who undermine the international rule-based order, but also by opponents from within our own countries. Our internal opponents will also judge our ability to defend these values. That is why we need to be really tough.

Thank you. ありがとうございました

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