The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - June 13, 2018
In this issue:

◢  French education abroad – Ceremony in honor of the Excellence-Major scholarship recipients (Paris - June 13, 2018)

◢  Development – Presentation of France's strategy to respond to situations of fragility (Paris - June 13, 2018)

◢  Agreement on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (June 12, 2018)

◢  Jordan - Palestinian Territories – Emergency humanitarian aid

◢  Palestinian Territories – Abolition of the death penalty (June 6, 2018)

◢  Human Rights Committee – Candidacy of Hélène Tigroudja (June 13, 2018)

◢  Yemen

◢  Italy

French education abroad – Ceremony in honor of the Excellence-Major scholarship recipients (Paris - June 13, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will receive, on Wednesday, June 13 at the Quai d'Orsay, together with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State, and in the presence of Christophe Bouchard, Head of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), the Excellence-Major scholarship recipients who are completing their higher education in France this year.

This event responds to the request made by President Macron, who, in his speech on March 20, affirmed that the 500 AEFE schools formed the backbone of our education system throughout the world and called for an even more ambitious development of our AEFE school network.

The Excellence-Major scholarship scheme makes it possible to support approximately 800 foreign students for five years of study. High school graduates are selected every year based on criteria of excellence and receive a grant funded by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the AEFE.

In a context of increased student mobility and strong competition between the higher education systems of numerous countries, the Excellence-Major scholarship recipients are a key asset in terms of raising France's profile and promoting the attractiveness of its universities which make it the 4th most popular country for international students and the world's most popular non-English speaking country for international students.

Development – Presentation of France's strategy to respond to situations of fragility (Paris - June 13, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, opened a high-level event at the Quai d'Orsay on June 13 entitled "Building sustainable peace – Prevention, Resilience, Comprehensive approach" aimed at presenting France's new strategy to respond to situations of fragility announced during the most recent Interministerial Council for Cooperation and Development on February 8, 2018.

The event brought together Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank, Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program, Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank, Co-Chair of the Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, High Representative of the African Union for its Peace Fund, Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive of the French Development Agency, and Inna Modja, an artist committed to women's rights.

In addition to the French strategy, the French Development Agency's Peace and Resilience Fund ("Minka" fund) and the French version of the United Nations-World Bank report on conflict prevention (Pathways for Peace) were also presented.

The minister of state highlighted the priority given by France to the response to crises and situations of fragility based on a preventive and comprehensive approach linking diplomacy, security, humanitarian efforts, stabilization and development. He also reaffirmed the government's commitment to allocating, as part of its overall goal to increase its official development assistance to 0.55% of gross national income by 2022, €500 million to humanitarian and food assistance as well as to stabilization by 2022 and to doubling the amount allocated to AFD's Peace and Resilience Fund to €200 million per year.

In addition to resources, new forms of intervention will be developed, like, for example, the Sahel Alliance launched in July 2017. This French-German initiative aims to link the issues of security and development, by encouraging innovative methods, a donor accountability system, and well-defined objectives in order to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations. The implementation of projects will focus on short, transparent distribution channels that will make it possible to directly reach the populations concerned.

Almost a fifth of the world's population now lives in situations of fragility, conflict and violence – these are expected to affect more than 60% of the world's poor by 2030. Without major efforts to address the factors associated with this fragility, these especially vulnerable populations will face development challenges that will ultimately call into question the "Leave No One Behind" commitment made at the 2015 World Summit on Sustainable Development when the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted.

Agreement on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (June 12, 2018)

France welcomes the announcement on June 12, 2018, by Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, of an agreement on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

This is a major development, the outcome of which will benefit both countries, by allowing their relations to develop in numerous areas, by fostering stability in the Balkans region and for Europe as a whole.

France, which maintains close and friendly relations with Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and has supported them throughout the negotiations which have just been concluded, calls on all stakeholders in both countries to support this agreement in order to allow its full implementation.

Jordan - Palestinian Territories – Emergency humanitarian aid

Today France is donating medical equipment to the Jordanian military hospital in Gaza. The equipment, which includes stretchers, surgical beds, an ECG machine, measuring instruments, and surgical and anesthetic equipment will be transported from Jordan to the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

This operation reflects France's commitment to resolving the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. It supplements France's support for two French NGOs that provide emergency medical care in Gaza, Médecins du Monde and Humanité et Inclusion, bringing the total amount to €300,000.

Finally, this joint French-Jordanian operation reflects the excellent relationship between France and Jordan, as well as our common commitment to working for peace and stability in the Middle East, to which France reaffirms its deep dedication.

Palestinian Territories – Abolition of the death penalty (June 6, 2018)

France welcomes the signing of the Protocol on the Abolition of the Death Penalty by the Palestinian Authority on June 6.

France reaffirms its unwavering opposition to the death penalty everywhere and in all circumstances and its resolute commitment to the universal abolition of this unjust, inhuman, ineffective punishment. It calls on all nations that still have the death penalty to establish a moratorium on it ahead of its definitive abolition.

Human Rights Committee – Candidacy of Hélène Tigroudja (June 13, 2018)

On June 14, tomorrow, nine members will be elected to the Human Rights Committee in New York. Made up of independent experts, this committee is the body responsible for overseeing compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

France, which is committed to the universal protection of these rights, presents for election the candidacy of international law professor Hélène Tigroudja. Ms. Tigroudja is renowned for her expertise in international human rights law, combined with practical experience she has acquired in the course of several missions on the ground. She is one of four candidates for this position.

We offer Ms. Tigroudja our full support and our best wishes for success. She is fully qualified to make useful contributions to the Committee's work.


The Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday that it had launched an assault on Hodeidah. In this situation, will the humanitarian conference co-chaired by France and Saudi Arabia and scheduled for June 27 still take place?

The port city of Hodeidah is indeed a key access point in Yemen for the delivery of commercial and humanitarian goods for civilian populations.

Reports on the ground convince us of the need for the international community to pay special attention to the question of humanitarian access. That is the purpose of the humanitarian conference we had proposed to hold on June 27.

President Macron spoke yesterday with Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He brought up the political and military situation in Yemen and notably in Hodeidah, and called on stakeholders to exercise restraint and to protect civilian populations.

France reaffirms that only a negotiated political solution, including in Hodeidah, will make it possible to sustainably end the war in Yemen and bring a halt to the deterioration in the country's humanitarian and security situation.


How do you respond to statements by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who accuses France of giving "hypocritical" lessons and of "turning its back as soon as it's a matter of immigration"?

We are perfectly aware of the pressure that migration places on Italy and of the efforts that country is making. None of the comments made by the French authorities was entirely challenged, nor was the need for Europeans to coordinate closely.

President Macron and Prime Minister Conte met in Charlevoix, on the sidelines of the G7, and the interior minister spoke yesterday with his new Italian counterpart.

We are committed to the dialogue and cooperation we have with Rome on these issues.

For our two countries, it is essential to rapidly reach an agreement on reshaping the European asylum system, to strengthen our joint efforts with respect to countries of origin and transit, and more broadly, to step up protection of our external borders. That is the purpose of the work we intend to continue doing with our Italian partners in the coming days, and which will, of course, be central to the meeting on Friday between President Macron and Prime Minister Conte. When it comes to these issues, only a coordinated response can be effective.

Italy summoned the French ambassador to Rome after statements by the President's Office on the fate of the Aquarius that were deemed "surprising." How is the Quai d'Orsay responding to this summons? Is the Italian Prime Minister's visit to Paris scheduled for Friday being called into question? Does France also intend to summon the Italian ambassador to Paris?

As the Italian Foreign Ministry announced in its communiqué, the Italian authorities have summoned our ambassador "following statements made in France about the Aquarius case." It is not up to us to comment on that decision.

President Macron invited the Italian Prime Minister to Paris on Friday as part of our ongoing dialogue with Italy, a dialogue we hope will always be close, in order to work together on preparations for the European Council in June, to discuss the most important international matters and to continue our bilateral cooperation.

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