The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - May 23, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Belgium – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart, Didier Reynders (Paris - May 23, 2018)

◢  Sweden – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and the speaker of parliament (Paris - May 23, 2018)

◢  Burundi – Referendum on the revision of the constitution (May 17, 2018)

◢  European Union – Participation by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne in the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) (Brussels - May 22, 2018)

 
Belgium – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart, Didier Reynders (Paris - May 23, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will receive his Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, today.

The discussions will focus on the following points:

  • international issues: The ministers will discuss our shared commitment to combatting the terrorism perpetrated by Daesh, to the Sahel, to MINUSMA in Mali as well as within the framework of the EU missions to Mali and Niger. They will take stock of our relations with Russia. They will have an in-depth discussion on the Vienna agreement with Iran (JCPOA) and on the challenges posed by this country. Lastly, they will discuss the fight against impunity for the use of chemical weapons;
  • EU: The ministers will notably discuss the UK's withdrawal, the EU's financial priorities, respect for the rule of law by member states as well as the challenges posed by expansion to the Western Balkans countries;
  • bilateral relations: Jean-Yves Le Drian will address the strengthening of French-Belgian relations as well as the proposal by the Belgian presidency of the Benelux Union to strengthen cooperation between France and this organization.



Sweden – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and the speaker of parliament (Paris - May 23, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will receive Urban Ahlin, Speaker of the Riksdag, Sweden's unicameral legislature, today.

Their discussions will focus on key European issues, notably the Multiannual Financial Framework and the UK's withdrawal from the EU, as well as the citizens' consultations.

They will take stock of the strengthening of bilateral French-Swedish relations, which are notably marked by our bilateral partnership on green innovation.

Nathalie Loiseau will welcome in particular Sweden's participation in the fight against terrorism in Mali.



Burundi – Referendum on the revision of the constitution (May 17, 2018)

France takes note of the results of the referendum on May 17 in Burundi on the revision of the constitution.

Although, the referendum took place in an atmosphere of relative calm, we deplore the fact that the campaign took place in a climate of intimidation and threats, and even violence, targeted against those opposed to constitutional reform.

The constitutional reforms introduce amendments that are contrary to the Arusha agreement that established an institutionalized system for power sharing between Burundi's societal elements, calling into question the mechanisms aimed at protecting the Tutsi minority. This reform will not help to resolve the crisis that the country has been experiencing since 2015.

The priority now is to ensure the establishment of national dialogue without conditions or exclusions that will allow all components of Burundian society to express their aspirations. This will only be possible if the government makes gestures that will notably allow the opposition, the media and civil society to play their roles without hindrance. We call on it to take measures to that end in a spirit of inclusiveness.



European Union – Participation by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne in the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) (Brussels - May 22, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State, took part in the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) in Brussels on May 22.

The agenda included several topics:

  • 1/ The Council was called upon to adopt the negotiation mandates for trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand. These negotiations, supported by France, will make it possible to strengthen economic and trade ties with important partners of the EU in the Asia-Pacific region. As part of this process, France will be especially vigilant in ensuring that our agricultural concerns, the impact of the agreement on the overseas countries and territories, as well as sustainable development issues, are taken into account.
  • 2/ Conclusions were adopted on establishing a new framework for the negotiation and approval of trade agreements, following the European Court of Justice's opinion on the EU-Singapore agreement. Within the framework of the new architecture of the agreements proposed by the Commission, France welcomes the commitments undertaken to build confidence, with respect to transparency vis-à-vis civil society and the national Parliaments, the regular review of mandates, the taking into account of agricultural concerns and the implementation of trade commitments.
  • 3/ The meeting was also aimed at providing an opportunity for a discussion between the ministers on issues relating to the WTO following the ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, in the face of the difficulties it is encountering with respect to its negotiating and dispute resolution functions. France believes that it is necessary to envisage ambitious solutions to support and renew the multilateral system and supports the Commission in its initiatives.
  • 4/ This meeting also provided an opportunity to present the timetable for signing agreements with Japan and Singapore. Progress on the trade negotiations with Mexico, Mercosur, Chile and Vietnam was also reviewed.

At the lunch devoted to trade relations with the United States, Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed the need for the EU, as an ally of the United States, to receive an unlimited and permanent exemption from the measures taken by the U.S. authorities in the steel and aluminum sectors. He also underscored the importance of handling all these issues with the United States—including the overcapacity issues and trade-distorting practices at the global level—within the framework of the WTO's multilateral trading system.

During this visit, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne met with his German, Spanish and Italian counterparts.


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