The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - April 3, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Freedom of the press – International conference on "Civil societies, media and public authorities: Democracies facing the manipulation of information" (Paris - April 4, 2018)

◢  Netherlands – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands (Paris - April 3, 2018)

◢  Slovenia – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and Iztok Mirosic, State Secretary for European Affairs (Paris - April 3, 2018)

◢  Liberia – Conclusion of the UN mission (March 30, 2018)

◢  South Africa – Death of Winnie Madikizela Mandela (April 2, 2018)

 
Freedom of the press – International conference on "Civil societies, media and public authorities: Democracies facing the manipulation of information" (Paris - April 4, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will conclude, on April 4, the international conference on "Civil societies, media and public authorities: Democracies facing the manipulation of information," hosted by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs at the Ministerial Conference Center. The conference will be opened by Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture.

As reflected by numerous cases involving the manipulation of public opinion, notably in the run-up to elections, states are openly incorporating into their doctrines the use of information channels for the purpose of destabilizing their opponents. Non-state groups may also be participating in this type of activity, as the case involving Cambridge Analytica has just demonstrated.

As Jean-Yves Le Drian indicated in his speech setting out France's international digital strategy on December 15, disinformation campaigns are based on use of the digital space at a massive scale and pose a threat to democracy and the sovereignty of the targeted states. The dissemination of reliable, verified and sound information while respecting the pluralism of opinions, poses a challenge for democracy. The collective vigilance of the media as well as civil society actors is the only way to preserve the very essence of our democratic way of life: the capacity of citizens to independently form their own opinions.

Those who engage in manipulation tactics are attempting to turn the very principles that form the basis of our democracies against these democracies – openness, the freedom of information and communication – in order to make them instruments for interference and destabilization.

The conference aims to mobilize all actors concerned – French and foreign actors – in support of an agenda focusing on concrete, democratic and collaborative solutions in order to address the manipulation of information. Experts and committed personalities from all walks of life have been invited to discuss the resilience of democratic societies and media in the face of this challenge, as well as the specific role of public authorities in the face of disinformation. The conference will be preceded by closed workshops that will allow specialists from civil society (researchers and businesses in particular) to discuss with government representatives the new methods being used by those responsible for this meddling.

The conference will contribute to the development of measures aimed at protecting democratic life and holding digital platforms accountable, in accordance with the wishes expressed by President Macron during his New Year greetings to the press on January 3, 2018.



Netherlands – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands (Paris - April 3, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will receive Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands, today.

The ministers will discuss the future of the EU and in particular the citizen consultations on Europe and the rule of law. Nathalie Loiseau will reaffirm the importance we attach to close dialogue with the Netherlands on European issues, which will notably be reflected by the forthcoming French-Dutch seminar on European issues in Paris.

Ms. Loiseau and Ms. Ollongren will also discuss the issue relating to the manipulation of information. They will discuss our cooperation in the context of the reconstruction of the island of St. Martin following the passage of Hurricane Irma, and, beyond that, the role of overseas countries and territories in the context of the post-Cotonou negotiations relating to the future of the partnership agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).



Slovenia – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and Iztok Mirosic, State Secretary for European Affairs (Paris - April 3, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will receive Iztok Mirosic, State Secretary for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, today.

Ms. Loiseau and Mr. Mirosic will discuss work on the future of the EU and key issues of common interest, including the negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework and migration challenges. They will also discuss the citizen consultations on Europe a few days ahead of their launch. They will address the challenges faced by the countries of southeastern Europe and their rapprochement with the EU.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity to take stock of the development of our high quality bilateral relations following Ms. Loiseau's visit to Slovenia in December 2017.

On the economic front, France is the sixth largest supplier to Slovenia and its fifth largest customer: Our exports increased by more than 20% compared to the first half of 2017 and our imports increased by more than 9.5%.



Liberia – Conclusion of the UN mission (March 30, 2018)

France welcomes the conclusion of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), whose mandate ended on March 30, 2018.

This demonstrates that the mandate entrusted to it has been completed. This is a source of pride and satisfaction for the United Nations as a whole.

UNMIL, which was established in 2003 by UNSCR 1509 in order to ensure compliance with the ceasefire, has made a decisive contribution to Liberia's stabilization.

As such, it is a successful example of UN peacekeeping operations, to which France lends its support.

France pays tribute to the memory of the two hundred peacekeepers who lost their lives in Liberia.



South Africa – Death of Winnie Madikizela Mandela (April 2, 2018)

We take note of the death of Winnie Madikizela Mandela on April 2 in Johannesburg. France extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this leading figure in South Africa's history.

As South Africa celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela this year, France pays tribute to the memory of the woman who, alongside him, resolutely embodied the struggle for equality and civil rights and the fight against the apartheid regime.

Winnie Madikizela Mandela served as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology following the first democratic elections in 1994, and as an ANC (African National Congress) Member of South Africa's Parliament on several occasions.


France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
f t Youtube Flickr Instagram