The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - March 12, 2020
In this issue:

◢  COVID-19 – U.S.

◢  COVID-19 – Italy

◢  COVID-19

◢  Iran

◢  Iraq

COVID-19 – U.S.

How is France going to respond to the prohibition on anyone—on any non-American—living in Europe from traveling to the U.S. because of the coronavirus epidemic?

What is France's response to Donald Trump's decision to prohibit the citizens of 26 European countries, including France, from entering the U.S.?

As the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated, the coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic. For anything else, we refer you to the European statements.

COVID-19 – Italy

How do you assess Italy's management of the coronavirus crisis? Isn't European solidarity being put to a harsh test during this crisis?

In the current context of the COVID-19 epidemic, France wants to reaffirm its absolute solidarity with the people and authorities of Italy, who are facing COVID-19 with courage and resolve.

President Macron's visit to Naples with 11 ministers on February 27 for the 35th French-Italian summit provided an opportunity to demonstrate this solidarity in practice and to highlight the many ties of friendship and cooperation between our two countries. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs is in regular contact with his Italian counterpart, Luigi di Maio, on developments in the situation, and our diplomatic and consular network remains fully mobilized. The Minister of State for European Affairs attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs spoke today with her Italian counterpart, Vincenzo Amendola, to convey the French authorities' solidarity and to review the measures put in place in Italy and at the European level.

Now more than ever, the crisis calls for a European response that must be resolute, comprehensive, coordinated, proportionate, and equal to the challenges, with mobilization at the highest levels. Since the beginning of the crisis, France has always defended the institution, acceleration and strengthening of European coordination. It was in this spirit that it called and supported the special videoconference of the European Council of March 10, which significantly strengthened all European coordination, information exchange, scientific assessment and economic support mechanisms, as well as the purchase and supply of protective materials and equipment. President Macron reaffirmed his opposition, on that occasion, to the unjustified and unilateral closure of borders, especially those concerning Italy.

The establishment of a common procedure with Italy for the purchase of respiratory equipment is both a sign and an example of the European coordination and solidarity we are instituting among EU member countries.


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that the spread of COVID-19 has reached pandemic proportions. What consequences does this announcement have for French citizens around the world?

The French authorities are monitoring the international situation with the utmost attention and are engaging in extremely close cooperation with all of our European and international partners, as the minister for solidarity and health reaffirmed yesterday. On President Macron's initiative a special meeting of the EU heads of state and government took place the day before yesterday in order to strengthen European coordination on health measures, research efforts and our economic response.

As you know, the situation is evolving rapidly and the authorities of each country concerned must take measures in connection with the COVID-19 crisis.

We continue to urge our compatriots to consult the travel advice page of the France Diplomatie website (, which is constantly updated based on the public health recommendations issued by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health. We would like to remind French nationals traveling abroad that they should register on the Ariane platform in order to receive alerts. We encourage French residents to sign up to the Registry of French Nationals Abroad and to update, if necessary, their contact information provided to the consular services (cell phone number, email address).


United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Iran to release all Americans who have been unfairly detained by Tehran as a result of the COVID-19 threat, threatening the country with retaliation if U.S. nationals were to die under such circumstances. Has a similar demand been made by France with respect to the two French researchers detained in Iran?

We have repeatedly expressed, at all levels, our deep concern at the health condition of our two compatriots in Iran.

We have regularly—and again in the last few days—called for their immediate release.

In the meantime, we are working tirelessly to secure regular consular access, in accordance with Iran's international commitments.


What is your response to the death of two American soldiers and one British soldier as a result of rocket attacks at the Iraqi military base in Taji?

France strongly condemns the attack against the Taji military base in Iraq which killed and seriously injured several military personnel deployed within the framework of the Global Coalition against Daesh. It extends its condolences to all of its partners affected within the Global Coalition against Daesh and assures them of its wholehearted solidarity in the face of these unacceptable attacks. France calls on the Iraqi authorities to take measures to identify the perpetrators of these attacks and prevent any future attacks.

France reaffirms its determination to continue to actively participate in the Global Coalition against Daesh which is taking action in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi authorities and in support of the Iraqi security forces. The coalition's continued action is vital in order to safeguard the progress made after five years of combating Daesh and to ensure a lasting victory over this terrorist group.

France reaffirms its attachment to Iraq's stability and sovereignty.

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