Speech: PM press conference with President of France Emmanuel Macron: 13 June 2017


War Hero
Thank you, Emmanuel.

As you have said the UK and France work side by side together in so many different areas, from our bilateral trading relationship worth £69 billion, to our tourist industries, where British and French people are intrinsically linked, forming the single largest groups of visitors to each other’s countries.

But nowhere is our cooperation closer than in the area of defence and security, with British and French fighter pilots flying alongside one another and in each other’s planes over Syria and Iraq to strike Daesh at its heart, or our troops deployed together in Estonia to provide reassurance to our eastern allies in the face of Russian aggression.

Just this month, cooperation between our 2 countries has led to the seizure of £65 million worth of drugs in the Indian Ocean, with UK and French naval officers working together on HMS Monmouth to intercept an illegal haul.

This is our close and deep relationship in action.

As you have said our discussions today have focused on the greatest security challenge our 2 countries face – tackling terrorism and rooting out the extremism that fuels it.

Both our countries have sadly experienced the horrors of terrorism all too recently.

I offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the 3 innocent French victims killed in the terrible attack in London last week.

It shows so painfully how these attacks are not attacks on one place but on us all. A British man, Nick Alexander, of course also tragically died in the Bataclan attack in Paris in November 2015.

I know you stand with us against this evil.

And tonight, President Macron and I will join the England and French football teams and the fans at the Stade de France to honour the victims of the London Bridge attack.

In the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks, the England and French teams paid tribute at Wembley Stadium to all those who lost their lives. Our visit to the Stade de France tonight will be a similar show of solidarity against terrorism and extremism.

The counter-terrorism cooperation between our intelligence agencies is already strong, but President Macron and I agree that more should be done to tackle the terrorist threat online.

As I have said before, in the UK we are already working with social media companies to halt the spread of extremist material and poisonous propaganda that is warping young minds. But we know they need to do more.

And today we can announce that the UK and France will work together to encourage corporations to do more and abide by their social responsibility to step up their efforts to remove harmful content from their networks.

We are launching a joint UK-French campaign to ensure that the internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals, and that it cannot be used to host the radicalising material that leads to so much harm.

We will lead joint work with the tech companies on this vital agenda, including working with them to develop tools to identify and remove harmful material automatically. We will press them to urgently establish the industry-led forum we agreed at the G7 summit last month, to develop shared technical and policy solutions to tackle terrorist content on the internet.

Crucially, our campaign will also include exploring creating a legal liability for tech companies if they fail to take the necessary action to remove unacceptable content.

The Home Secretary and the French Interior Minister will meet in the coming days to drive forward this important work.

We are united in our total condemnation of terrorism and our commitment to stamp out this evil.

Finally on Brexit we have been very clear that we want to maintain a close relationship and a close partnership with the EU and individual member states into the future, including the areas we discussed this evening.

And I confirmed to President Macron that the timetable remains on course and will begin next week.

So, thank you, Emmanuel, for our very constructive discussions this evening.

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