The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - April 13, 2018
In this issue:

◢  European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian attending Foreign Affairs Council (Luxembourg - April 16, 2018)

◢  European Union – Nathalie Loiseau traveling to Troyes (April 13, 2018)

◢  Chemical weapons – OPCW report on the Skripal case (April 11, 2018)

◢  European Convention on Human Rights – France's ratification of Protocol No. 16

European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian attending Foreign Affairs Council (Luxembourg - April 16, 2018)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will be attending the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on April 16.

Discussions will deal with:

  • Syria: the ministers will review the latest developments and will consider the responsibility of the regime and its backers for the continuing violence, especially following the latest use of chemical weapons. Conclusions will be adopted to reaffirm Europe's commitment to a political solution. The ministers will also express their wish that the Brussels II conference to be held at the end of the month will provide responses to humanitarian needs and support to countries welcoming Syrian refugees.
  • Iran: Mr. Le Drian will underscore the need to preserve the Vienna Agreement and a policy of dialogue and firmness toward the Iranian ballistic missile program and the destabilizing role of Tehran in the region.
  • Russia: the ministers will emphasize the importance of maintaining European unity in relations with Russia.
  • Western Balkans: The ministers will prepare for the EU-Balkan summit, which will be held in Sofia on May 17 and which will adopt concrete measures to support the reforms necessary for European rapprochement.
  • Financial instruments for external action: as preparatory work begins on the next multiannual financial framework, the ministers will work on the future architecture of external action instruments.

Conclusions will also be adopted on South Sudan and cybersecurity.

European Union – Nathalie Loiseau traveling to Troyes (April 13, 2018)

Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau will be in Troyes on April 13 to attend a citizen consultation on Europe.

At the invitation of the association Aube, Dialogues et Perspectives and Aube deputy Grégory Besson-Moreau, Nathalie Loiseau and Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the European commission conducting negotiations with the United Kingdom, will answer questions from the public on European challenges in the age of Brexit. This event will be held at the Ecole supérieur de commerce de Troyes.

Citizen consultations on Europe, an exercise in consultation and participatory democracy at an unprecedented level in Europe, will be taking place in 27 EU countries from April to October and aim to help restore the connection between peoples and European construction. These consultations follow several major principles common to all the participating member states, including openness to all citizens, pluralism, and transparency.

In France, they combine:

  • discussions organized by the government but also by local governments, elected officials, and civil society (associations, companies, unions, chambers of commerce, cultural actors, universities). All such consultation projects are subject to a flexible and transparent labeling system (the address is now available to those initiating such projects).
  • for the first time, a large-scale digital consultation in Europe aimed at reaching a large number of Europeans, including those who do not usually speak out about Europe.
  • citizen panels to consider the quality of topics of major priority.

The website will be online as of April 18, in the wake of the citizen consultation led by the President in Epinal. It will contain all information relating to citizen consultations.

Chemical weapons – OPCW report on the Skripal case (April 11, 2018)

The report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published on April 11 confirms the nature of the military-grade nerve agent found in Salisbury on March 4. It therefore fully shares the conclusions of the British investigations, concluding that the chemical component belongs to the "Novichok" family of military-grade nerve agents developed by Russia.

France fully shares the United Kingdom's conclusion that there is no plausible explanation other than Russia's responsibility.

France once again condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of such a chemical weapon on UK territory and expresses its complete solidarity with its partner and with the three poisoned victims.

France applauds the work carried out by the OPCW with the utmost professionalism. It also hails the transparency shown by the British authorities who made this report public.

We hope that the special session of the advisory board of the OPCW on April 18 will offer a constructive, candid discussion among the States Parties.

European Convention on Human Rights – France's ratification of Protocol No. 16

During the conference on reform of the Human Rights Convention system held in Copenhagen, Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet conveyed to the secretary-general of the Council of Europe our instrument of ratification of Protocol No. 16 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

This protocol makes it possible for the highest state jurisdictions to address the demands of advisory opinions at the European Court of Human Rights on questions of principle relating to the interpretation or application of rights and liberties defined by the convention or its protocols. For France, this possibility will be open to the Constitutional Council, the Council of State and the French Supreme Court ("Cour de Cassation").

France is the 10th State Party to depose its ratification instrument, making the protocol's implementation possible in three months. During his speech to the European Court of Human Rights on October 31, 2017, President Macron expressed his commitment to this swift ratification. The law authorizing the ratification of Protocol No. 16 was passed on April 4.

The protocol will considerably strengthen the European legal basis for human rights and the legal edifice surrounding the European Convention on Human Rights.

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