The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 18, 2019
In this issue:

◢  EU – Jean-Yves Le Drian to attend Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - January 21, 2019)

◢  Slovakia – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and František Ružička (Paris - January 18, 2019)

◢  Yemen – Attack on UNMHA convoy (January 17, 2019)

◢  Colombia – Car bomb attack (January 17, 2019)

EU – Jean-Yves Le Drian to attend Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - January 21, 2019)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian will attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on January 21.

The ministers will discuss several topics:

  • Disinformation: The Council will address the implementation of external aspects of the Action Plan against Disinformation adopted by the Commission and the European External Action Service on December 5 and endorsed by the European Council on December 13 and 14. France will argue for swiftly implementing this plan, notably through the establishment of an EU-wide rapid alert system in March. The minister will also underscore the need for the EU to require digital platforms to fulfill their commitments under the code of good conduct (transparency with respect to algorithms, removal of false accounts, support for fact-checking).
  • EU - League of Arab States: The ministers will make preparations for the ministerial meeting between the EU and the League of Arab States to be held on February 4, and the first joint EU-Arab League summit to be held in Egypt on February 24-25. In this regard, discussions should focus on regional crises and on strengthening cooperation between the two organizations on challenges of common interest: defending multilateralism, biodiversity, the climate, water diplomacy, and the safeguarding and protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.
  • EU - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): The aim of these discussions is to coordinate on European positions ahead of the EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting, which will be held immediately after the Council. France will urge that that meeting be used to bolster EU-ASEAN relations and to establish a strategic partnership that gives new momentum to cooperation between the two organizations, especially on issues of security in Asia, but also to defend multilateralism, connectivity, and the environment.
  • Venezuela: The ministers will address the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as well as the terms of the EU's commitment with respect to this situation, among other things, through the establishment of a contact group to facilitate the resumption of a political dialogue between the government and the opposition, with the cooperation of organizations and countries in the region.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: The ministers will discuss the latest developments in that country following the publication of results of the election held on December 30.

During this session, the Council will adopt the first individual sanctions imposed under the new European sanctions regime on the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, a measure supported by France. Furthermore, sanctions will be imposed on Syrian businessmen linked to the regime who are involved in real estate projects that solidify the regime's practices with respect to expropriations, demographic changes, and obstacles to the return of displaced persons and refugees.

Slovakia – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and František Ružička (Paris - January 18, 2019)

European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau is hosting her Slovak counterpart, František Ružička, today.

Their meeting is part of the strategic bilateral partnership renewed last year. It will help strengthen the many areas of convergence between our two countries, which were reaffirmed during President Macron's visit to Bratislava on October 26 of last year. The two ministers will discuss the most pressing European issues:

  • Following the House of Commons' failure on January 15 to ratify the agreement on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, the minister emphasizes that it is now up to the British government to specify the approach it plans to take. She will present preparatory work carried out by France to prepare for the possibility of the UK's withdrawal from the EU without an agreement.
  • Ahead of future European Parliament elections, progress is expected on several issues during the Romanian presidency. With regard to the Mobility Package, France is determined to promote a Europe that protects workers through fair competition between European businesses. Concerning the Copyright Directive, the minister will recall France's commitment to the fair remuneration of authors as well as adjustments to this system in the digital age. As for the future EU multilateral financial framework, we do not intend to oppose the financing of new priorities and the preservation of traditional policies, in particular the Common Agricultural Policy. The minister will also stress France's wish to move forward on the taxation of the digital sector. The two ministers will also review work on the future of the euro area, to which Slovakia belongs.

Yemen – Attack on UNMHA convoy (January 17, 2019)

France condemns yesterday's firing in Hodeidah on the convoy of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), which provides assistance to Yemeni stakeholders to guarantee the redeployment of forces in the Hodeaidah Governorate consistent with the agreement reached at inter-Yemeni talks in Stockholm on December 13.

France calls on the parties to refrain from all hostile acts against UNMHA. In accordance with Resolution 2452 adopted by the Security Council on January 16 and authorizing the establishment of UNMHA, it is their responsibility to offer support for the UN mission by guaranteeing the safety and security of its personnel, and their entry into and movement around the country.

France reiterates its full support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and for UNMHA's work. It calls on all the parties to continue and translate into action the positive momentum created by the talks in Stockholm.

Colombia – Car bomb attack (January 17, 2019)

France condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on the General Santander police academy in Bogotà yesterday, killing and injuring dozens.

We offer our condolences to the victims' loved ones and to the Colombian people. We stand with Colombia in the fight against terrorism.

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