The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 14, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Belgium – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Philippe Goffin, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense of the Kingdom of Belgium (January 14, 2020)

◢  International trade – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the Trade Policy Follow-Up Committee (Paris - January 13, 2020)

◢  Libya

Belgium – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Philippe Goffin, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense of the Kingdom of Belgium (January 14, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is meeting today with his Belgium counterpart, Philippe Goffin. This meeting falls within the framework of the close cooperation between our two countries on international and European issues, further strengthened by Belgium's current membership of the UN Security Council.

The ministers will exchange views on the management of major international crises and will discuss support for the external operations to which our two countries contribute alongside each other. They will focus on making our joint commitments a reality, and on further strengthening our cooperation on conflict prevention and stabilization, notably in the Sahel and in the Great Lakes region, in the context of their commitment to the fight against terrorist groups. The ministers will also discuss the Syrian and Libyan issues, as well as the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, regarding which Jean-Yves Le Drian will underscore France's determination to work together with Belgium toward achieving a de-escalation.

International trade – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the Trade Policy Follow-Up Committee (Paris - January 13, 2020)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, convened, on January 13, the Trade Policy Follow-Up Committee, a forum that brings together parliamentarians, professional associations, unions and NGOs involved in monitoring issues related to international trade agreements.

On this occasion, the minister of state reaffirmed France's trade priorities, a few weeks after the inauguration of the new European institutions. He took stock of the trade tensions seen at the global level and their consequences for the EU, underscoring the support measures planned for the French firms affected. The discussions in progress at the European level relating to WTO modernization, as well as the challenges related to Brexit, notably France's priorities with respect to the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, were also discussed.

During this committee meeting, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne also reported on the status of trade talks with the U.S. and current negotiations on commercial agreements. With regard to progress on the action plan adopted on October 25, 2017, by the government in conjunction with the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (AECG/CETA) with Canada, he emphasized that two of its top priorities—developing a carbon inclusion mechanism, or carbon border tax, and making compliance with the Paris Agreement a key clause in EU agreements—were included by the European Commission in the European Green Deal it proposed in December 2019.

The meeting featured an in-depth discussion on defense and the promotion of French economic interests with a very large panel of professionals working on commercial subjects and on French and EU commercial priorities, in particular the consideration of health challenges and sustainable development in trade agreements signed by the EU and its international partners.


What is the position of French diplomats on the Turkish and Russian efforts in the Libyan conflict?

I refer you to the reply given by Jean-Yves Le Drian in his interview with the daily Sud-Ouest yesterday: the instability and chaos in Libya are due to clashes between militias, the instability and, all sorts of trafficking, the pillaging of resources that are supposed to benefit all Libyans, and growing interference from foreign powers. Things cannot remain as they are.

We are in close contact with our European partners and we agree on certain principles: there will be no military solution or any solution that is exempt from international law, or any solution that comes about via the intervention of foreign countries using Libya as a battleground. On this basis, an international conference will be held in Berlin and will be attended by the most important Libyan and international actors, including the UN and the African Union. It is a good initiative, enabling the announced truce to lead to a lasting cessation of hostilities and allowing a genuine political process and dialogue among the Libyan parties to get under way.

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