The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - February 15, 2018
In this issue:

◢  European Union – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau to Brussels (February 15, 2018)

◢  Italy – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau to Rome (February 16, 2018)

◢  Zimbabwe – Death of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (February 14, 2018)

◢  Ukraine

European Union – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau to Brussels (February 15, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, is visiting Brussels today to present the public consultations to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and to the president of the European Committee of the Regions.

The minister will speak at the European Economic and Social Committee, at the invitation of its president, Georges Dassis, during a debate on the future of Europe. She will propose that the EESC contribute, in its capacity as an institution, to the public consultations and urge the professional bodies represented by the EESC to hold their own consultations.

Nathalie Loiseau will also visit the European Committee of the Regions to meet with its president, Karl-Heinz Lambertz. This meeting will provide an opportunity to present the public consultations and to discuss the role that the European Committee of the Regions could play in the consultations, notably on the basis of the experience already gained by this institution.

Italy – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau to Rome (February 16, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will visit Rome on February 16 to launch, together with her counterpart, Sandro Gozi, the high-level working group tasked with preparing a Quirinal Treaty between France and Italy, jointly announced by President Macron and the Italian prime minister on January 11 in Rome.

The aim of the treaty is to give strong impetus to the French-Italian relationship by giving it structure and by providing it with new goals, with both bilateral and European dimensions, in follow up to the French-Italian summit in Lyon on September 27.

The work of the high-level group, whose members include Sylvie Goulard, Pascal Cagni and Gilles Pécoud for France, and Paola Severino, Franco Bassanini and Marco Piantini for Italy, will be coordinated by the two ministers for European affairs within the framework established by the French president and the Italian prime minister, with the aim of concluding the treaty during the next French-Italian summit due to take place in Italy during the second half of 2018.

Prior to the meeting of the working group, the two ministers will discuss the EU's new post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework as well as key European issues, notably in preparation for the summit on February 23.

Zimbabwe – Death of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (February 14, 2018)

We learned of the death of the former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, on February 14 in Johannesburg.

France offers its sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

Secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in 1988, Morgan Tsvangirai founded Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in 1999.

Mr. Tsvangirai ran for president several times and served as Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity in Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2013. He was hosted in France several times.

At a time when Zimbabwe is engaged in preparing for elections that are important to the country's future, France hails the memory of this great champion of democracy.


The Donbas authorities are reporting that Ukraine has stepped up military preparations along the entire Line of Contact which, according to them, means that Kiev is actively preparing for offensive actions. The leaders of the Donetsk Republic have asked the guarantor countries, i.e., France and Germany, to exert their influence on Kiev and to prevent the escalation of the conflict in the Donbas. How would you comment on these statements?

Security on the ground is our absolute priority, and we discuss this subject regularly at the highest level. France and Germany, co-mediators in the Normandy Contact Group, call on the parties to abide by the ceasefire renewed on December 23.

The next few weeks should bring concrete, positive results on certain issues that are crucial to the situation on the ground, such as the adoption of a package of immediate humanitarian measures we developed with Germany, and the return of Russian officers to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination.

France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
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