The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - March 20, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Francophonie / International Francophonie Day (March 20) – French Language and Francophonie Week (March 16 to 24, 2019)


◢  Russia

Francophonie / International Francophonie Day (March 20) – French Language and Francophonie Week (March 16 to 24, 2019)

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is celebrating International Francophonie Day today. Its Cooperation and Cultural Action Network, the Instituts français and French-language schools are working alongside their partners and are joining French-speakers around the world to celebrate the French language in all its diversity. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is also taking part in the 24th edition of French Language and Francophonie Week coordinated by the Ministry of Culture from March 16 to 24.

Under the slogan "En français… s'il vous plait," chosen by Secretary General of La Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo, International Francophonie Day reflects the vitality of the French language, which is constantly being enriched by new words to take into account changes in today‚Äôs world.

One year after President Macron's speech at the Institut de France, France's international strategy for the French language and multilingualism has already been outlined. The foundation stone for the Maison des étudiants de la francophonie at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris will be laid on March 20 in the presence of Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. On March 21, the Haitian writer Yanick Lahens will deliver the inaugural speech of the new "Mondes Francophones" Chair created a few months ago by the Collège de France.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is also continuing its policy of promoting and strengthening French language teaching, notably through the Solidarity Fund for innovative projects, civil society, French language and culture and human development (FSPI). This new tool, which focuses on African countries, supports education systems in order to strengthen the teaching of French to students and to improve initial and further training of teachers and trainers.

French is the second most studied language in the world, with almost 130 million students and 900,000 teachers of French abroad; it is the second most important language of international news, the third most important in the business world, and the fourth most important on the Internet. It is a working language of major importance in all international organizations. Shared by 300 million people worldwide, French is the fifth most spoken language on the planet, and, along with English, the only language spoken on all five continents.


U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility of Brazil becoming a member of NATO. Is this a viable option from a European perspective?

NATO is an alliance of nations bound together by a collective defense clause, the geographical scope of application of which is clearly defined by the Washington Treaty of April 4, 1949.

Within the framework of its cooperative security mission aimed at strengthening international stability and improving the security of allies, NATO can establish a dialogue and practical cooperation with partners, as it already does so with almost 40 non-member countries and international organizations, including in Latin America.


The head of the Russian NGO Memorial in Chechnya, Oyub Titiev, has been sentenced to four years in a penal colony. France had called on Russia to guarantee him a "fair trial." What is your response following the handing down of this sentence?

Oyub Titiev, the head of the human rights NGO Memorial in Chechnya, winner of the 2018 French-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, was sentenced to four years in prison on March 18 by a court in the town of Shali in Chechnya.

France continues to demand that Mr. Titiev be given a fair trial at all stages of the proceedings and reiterates its call for Russia to implement the recommendations of the OSCE report on the human rights situation in Chechnya, in accordance with Russia's international and European commitments.

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