The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - June 11, 2018
In this issue:

◢  European Union / Citizens' consultations – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau to Maine-et-Loire (June 11, 2018)

◢  Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs – Resources

◢  Lebanon

 
European Union / Citizens' consultations – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau to Maine-et-Loire (June 11, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, is visiting Angers today at the invitation of the city's mayor, Christophe Béchu.

She will meet with stakeholders in the agricultural sector and officials from the Community Plant Variety Office, the EU agency based in Angers tasked with managing the EU plant variety rights system and supporting the development of plant species. The EU system of plant variety rights is one of the most sophisticated of its kind.

In Angers, the minister will also take part in two citizens' consultations on Europe: one at the "Lycée international et européen Sainte Agnès" on the theme of "What is your Europe?" and the other hosted by the Maine-et-Loire Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with other economic actors in the region, business leaders and employees, who will provide the minister with a summary of the thematic workshops on European policies.



Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs – Resources

Is it true, as the Journal du Dimanche reported yesterday, that the Quai d'Orsay is about to buy a building for €83 million in Paris and a 1,250-square-meter palace for 13 people in Edinburgh?

Since 2006, the Ministry's building projects have been financed exclusively by proceeds from the sale of properties abroad. These sales have also helped reduce government debt by €207 million from 2014 to 2017. It is in this context that Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed a particularly rigorous property management system.

In this regard, we have no plans to purchase an additional building in Paris for the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. On the contrary, for the past 10 years, it has been our steadfast policy to focus personnel at two Paris sites—the Quai d'Orsay and La Convention—a sound management measure. To that end, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs decided in 2015 to free up space it occupies on the Ilot Saint-Germain and rue Oudinot and to return the relevant personnel to the Quai d'Orsay. Obviously, work will be necessary to increase the density of the Quai d'Orsay site, and an additional building will be constructed to accomodate an added 300 workers.

As for the Edinburgh site, this is not a matter of "buying a palace for 13 people" but of relocating the Consulate General and the Institut Français in the same building, at a total cost of €4 million. Of the 1,250 square meters included in this project, 152 square meters are taken up by office space; the rest is devoted to welcoming the public and teaching French. The purchase and renovation work were financed exclusively by proceeds from the sale (€5 million) of three antiquated, oversized buildings owned by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in Edinburgh. The net profit came to a million euros.

Generally speaking, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs fully contributes to reducing public spending. Its budget comes to less than 1% of the State budget, and the total number of its employees (in France and abroad) is 13,550. The Ministry has reduced its workforce by 17% over the past 10 years (2007-2017).



Lebanon

What do you think about Gebran Bassil's announcements regarding the refusal to grant residence permits to UNHCR staff?

France, which is firmly committed to Lebanon's stability and to maintaining balance in the country, hopes that the Syrian refugees will be able to return to their country and live there in security and dignity.

In this context, it calls on the parties present in Syria to work together to achieve a political solution and strongly condemns the adoption by the Syrian regime of Law 10 on expropriation which prevents the refugees from returning.

Pending the establishment of conditions conducive to the comprehensive return of the refugees, France will continue to support the efforts of the international community, which stands alongside Lebanon in the face of the humanitarian crisis.

It is with this in mind that we announced during the Brussels II conference on April 25 that France's efforts to support the Syrian people and the host communities will amount to more than €1 billion for the period 2018-2020. France reaffirms its support for the UN, and in particular the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in conducting their missions in Lebanon.


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