The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - May 27, 2020
In this issue:

◢  European Union – Amélie de Montchalin's participation in the video conference of ministers for European affairs (May 26, 2020)

◢  China

◢  EU – China

European Union – Amélie de Montchalin's participation in the video conference of ministers for European affairs (May 26, 2020)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in the informal meeting of ministers for European affairs on May 26 via video conference.

The ministers discussed the following points:

  • European coordination of post-crisis measures: In the context of the overall reduction in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the EU, the member states underscored the importance of easing lockdown measures in a coordinated manner. The minister of state notably underscored the challenge of ensuring a gradual return of free movement through the progressive and coordinated lifting of border controls, notably in the context of the resumption of economic and tourist activities, while taking the health situation into account.
  • European economic recovery: While the European Commission will present its proposals today, May 27, the members states called for the implementation of instruments that would ensure lasting economic recovery in Europe and would also provide an opportunity to invest in the environmental and digital transformations. During the meeting, France and Germany presented the main components of their joint initiative set out on May 18, underscoring the need for an appropriate response to the economic shock, especially for the sectors and regions most affected, and to ensure that this recovery forms part of a political plan to promote European sovereignty.
  • Conference on the Future of Europe: Several member states expressed the view that the Conference on the Future of Europe would provide an adequate forum for discussing the lessons learned from the crisis and the EU's priorities with European citizens. In this context, the minister of state, together with her German counterpart, called for efforts to swiftly reach an agreement in the Council in order to make progress on discussions with other institutions aimed at quickly launching the conference.
  • Rule of law: The European Commission provided an update on the preparation of its first annual report on the rule of law in the EU, due to be published in September. Several member states, including France, reaffirmed their support for this initiative and called on the Council to examine this report in detail in the fall.


China's efforts to tighten its grip on Hong Kong pose a threat to the international order, according to the statement issued by the EU's top diplomat. He calls on member states to respond with a robust message. Does France condemn China's increasing control over Hong Kong?

The position of the European Union and its Member States was expressed in the declaration issued by the High Representative of the European Union on May 22. France fully supports that declaration and suggests you consult it. As a reminder, it reads as follows:

"Declaration by the High Representative, on behalf of the European Union, on the announcement by China's National People's Congress spokesperson regarding Hong Kong:

On 21 May, a spokesperson for China's National People's Congress announced that the upcoming NPC session will deliberate on a draft bill to 'establish and improve the legal framework and enforcement mechanism in order to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.'

The European Union has a strong stake in the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong under the 'One Country Two Systems' principle. It attaches great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, in line with the Basic Law and with international commitments, as well as to the respect for this principle.

The EU considers that democratic debate, consultation of key stakeholders, and respect for protected rights and freedoms in Hong Kong would represent the best way of proceeding with the adoption of national security legislation, as foreseen in Article 23 of the Basic Law, while also upholding Hong Kong's autonomy and the 'One Country Two Systems' principle.

The EU will continue to follow developments closely."

EU – China

What is the goal of Friday's meeting between European foreign ministers on China? Have Germany and France defined a common position with respect to the attitude to adopt vis-à-vis China?

The purpose of the videoconference bringing together EU foreign ministers on May 29 is to prepare for this year's high-level EU-China meetings (the EU-China summit at the end of June, and the summit of European and Chinese Heads of State and Government in September).

The foreign ministers' discussion will serve to bolster European unity and cohesion on our main goals for these summits, the most important being strengthening multilateralism, re-balancing the European-Chinese relationship by improving reciprocity, and an ambitious agenda on fighting climate change.

France maintains a regular, constructive dialogue with Germany on these issues with the goal of effectively promoting European interests and universal values in European-Chinese relations and preparing for upcoming deadlines in the best possible way.

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