The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - July 13, 2018
In this issue:

◢  United Nations – Meeting between the minister and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (Paris - July 13, 2018)

◢  Malta – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart, Carmelo Abela (Paris - July 13, 2018)

◢  European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - July 16, 2018)

◢  Western Balkans – Expansion of AFD's intervention mandate

United Nations – Meeting between the minister and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (Paris - July 13, 2018)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian met with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on July 13.

This meeting took place in a context in which the UNHCR and the international community are facing increased challenges, with an unprecedented level of forced displacements of people around the world (68.5 million displaced persons compared with 38 million 10 years ago).

President Macron just reiterated our attachment to the right to asylum, our desire to have a solidarity-based European policy and our call for the effective implementation of the conclusions of the most recent European Council. In this respect, Jean-Yves Le Drian underscored the importance of respect for the principles of humanity, the application of the rules of international law and pragmatism.

The minister for Europe and foreign affairs reaffirmed that the UNHCR is a key partner of France and the largest recipient of French humanitarian assistance (€34.8 million in 2017; €32.8 million in 2018). He indicated that France's commitment to the protection of refugees would also continue through the resettlement of refugees in France, in accordance with President Macron's commitments as well as through our efforts to obtain UN sanctions against the traffickers of migrants and human smugglers, to break up the networks and to address serious human rights violations. Jean-Yves Le Drian notably underscored the importance France attaches to cooperation in certain Sahel countries with the UNHCR, as well as with the International Migration Organization, in order to alleviate the suffering of migrants and refugees.

This meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the forthcoming international meetings in this area as well as to finalize the compact on refugees drawn up on the initiative of the high commissioner. The minister commended the consultation process led by the UNHCR to achieve this outcome and make it possible to renew the international community's response in support of the refugees and host countries.

Lastly, Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed that France will continue to give special attention to the work of the UNHCR and to all of the initiatives that can be undertaken to help the refugees fleeing armed conflict, notably in Syria and Libya. It will continue to work on finding solutions to the crises, a tragic consequence of which is the displacement of civilians.

Malta – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart, Carmelo Abela (Paris - July 13, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is receiving his Maltese counterpart, Carmelo Abela, today.

The ministers will discuss our bilateral cooperation on key issues: the migration situation, notably in light of the success of French-Maltese cooperation when the Lifeline rescue boat docked in the archipelago and the conclusions of the European Council on June 28 and 29; the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for the 2021-2027 period; the situation in the Mediterranean basin (Libya, Syria and Middle East peace process); as well as Malta's candidacy for the International Organization of La Francophonie, which France supports.

A bilateral diplomatic cooperation agreement will be signed on this occasion. The implementation of this agreement will help strengthen our bilateral trade.

European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - July 16, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on July 16.

The discussions will focus on the following points:

  • The Eastern Partnership: The ministers will prepare for the EU-Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting scheduled to take place on October 15 in Luxembourg. They will take stock of progress on implementing the "20 deliverables for 2020" adopted during the last Eastern Partnership summit on November 24, 2017. These goals constitute the framework for the development of relations with the six partner countries. The most significant progress at this stage is in the area of economic development (more than 5,000 SMEs have received EU financial support since 2016, increased trade with the EU since 2016: +15% with Armenia, +17% with Azerbaijan, +19% with Belarus, +6% with Georgia, +20% with Moldova, +24% with Ukraine). Significant results have been achieved in the area of mobility (opening of an Eastern Partnership school in September 2018). France will notably call for strengthened cooperation in the areas of youth (vocational training), the environment (implementation of the Paris Agreement and support of the Eastern neighbors for the Global Compact for the environment initiative) and security (fight against radicalization and violent extremism);
  • Libya: Following the high representative's visit to Tripoli and her meetings with the Libyan authorities, Jean-Yves Le Drian will underscore the importance of respecting the election timetable and ensuring the implementation of the commitments made by the Libyan parties in Paris on May 29 and endorsed by the Security Council on June 6. He will call on the EU to strengthen its support for the election process. The minister for Europe and foreign affairs will also reaffirm the importance of strengthened cooperation with the Libyan authorities in the area of migration, in collaboration with the UNHCR and the IOM, and the need to work toward adopting new sanctions against smugglers of migrants and human traffickers;
  • North Korea: The ministers will discuss the situation following the summit in Singapore on June 12 and the visit to North Korea by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on July 6 and 7. Our priority remains the launch of a process to ensure the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The EU has a special responsibility with respect to preserving the international non-proliferation regime. France will argue in favor of maintaining a firm approach in order to ensure that North Korea makes concrete and specific commitments and implements its international obligations;
  • Iran: Following the meeting of the Joint Commission in Vienna on July 6, the Council will send a strong political signal in support of preserving the JCPOA by amending the Annex to the 1996 Regulation in order to block - in Europe - the extraterritorial effects of American sanctions against Iran;
  • International Criminal Court: To mark the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute signed on July 17, 1998, conclusions will be adopted to reaffirm EU support for the ICC.

Western Balkans – Expansion of AFD's intervention mandate

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, announced, on July 10 during the summit in London, the decision to expand the intervention mandate of the French Development Agency (AFD) to all Western Balkans countries (Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) in order to support regional integration and rapprochement with the EU.

The agency's new regional mandate includes three main areas:

  • support for the rapprochement process between these countries and the EU, notably in the areas of connectivity and the strengthening of social cohesion;
  • support for the transition toward sustainable development trajectories and especially the energy transition, as well as the territorial and ecological transition of these new counterparts, in keeping with the Paris Climate Agreement;
  • a strengthened French presence in the region, thereby helping to strengthen our bilateral relations in numerous areas.

AFD, which will use a very wide range of financial and non-financial tools in the Western Balkans, will provide its recognized expertise in the area of project structuring and support for local contracting authorities. Its intervention will complement that of other donors involved.

AFD's establishment in the Western Balkans reflects France's commitment to supporting the six countries in the region on the path toward sustainable development that will benefit all.

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