The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - December 6, 2019
In this issue:

◢  European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - December 9, 2019)

◢  Cuba – Meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and the Cuban foreign trade minister (December 6, 2019)

European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - December 9, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on December 9. This will be the first Foreign Affairs Council to be chaired by Josep Borrell in his capacity as the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

During this session, the ministers will discuss the following topics:

  • Relations between the EU and Africa: France will advocate for increasing the EU's level of ambition in its relations with Africa in the run-up to the next summit between the EU and the African Union in 2020. Following the death of 13 French soldiers in Mali on November 25, the minister will stress the need for stronger action by the EU in the Sahel, notably through the Partnership for Stability and Security, spearheaded by France and Germany.
  • The promotion of human rights and democracy: On the eve of International Human Rights Day (December 10), France will reaffirm its deep attachment to the respect for and the promotion of human rights and will underscore the importance of supporting human rights defenders and civil society, as well as gender equality, all over the world. The minister will underscore the EU's key role in addressing the setbacks observed in multilateral forums in terms of women's rights. He will call on the European institutions to take a cross-cutting approach in order to address this issue, while paying tribute to the new president of the European Commission's goal of making gender issues a priority of the EU's external action.

The ministers will also exchange views on several current issues, notably the situation in Hong Kong, developments in Moldova, developments in the electoral process in Bolivia and issues relating to Libya and Turkey.

Cuba – Meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and the Cuban foreign trade minister (December 6, 2019)

Today in Paris, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of state, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, the Cuban minister of foreign trade and foreign investment, are co-chairing the Fourth Session of the Franco-Cuban Economic and Commercial Commission and the Fourth Meeting of the Strategic Orientation Committee of the Franco-Cuban Counterpart Fund. Established under the Franco-Cuban agreement on the conversion of Cuban debt signed on February 1, 2016, this fund contains €212 million to fund projects of common interest between France and Cuba in conjunction with the French Development Agency (AFD).

Following these meetings, two new funding agreements will be signed: one in the area of agriturism, worth €5 million, that will help establish a tourism itinerary highlighting the country's coffee cultivation; and the other involving €2.7 million from the counterpart fund to rebuild Cuban water systems damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The signing of medium- and long-term agreement between France and Cuba will also be finalized. The agreement will supplement existing guarantees for short-term projects and will enable the state to guarantee, via Bpifrance Assurance Export, further commercial operations by French companies in Cuba, with an upper limit of €150 million for outstanding loans.

These meetings and the conclusion of these agreements illustrate our country's desire to continue supporting economic development projects for Cuba implemented under the Franco-Cuban Counterpart Fund and the French Development Agency.

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