The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - June 15, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Greece – Visit to Paris by Nikos Dendias, Greek minister of Foreign Affairs (June 15, 2020)

◢  European Union – Amélie de Montchalin's participation in the informal video conference of EU foreign affairs ministers (June 16, 2020)

◢  Algeria

◢  Libya

 
Greece – Visit to Paris by Nikos Dendias, Greek minister of Foreign Affairs (June 15, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, today.

The two ministers discussed key current European issues, regarding which France and Greece share the same goal of a strong, sovereign and united Europe. They underscored the need for the swift adoption of the ambitious recovery plan proposed by the European Commission and took stock of the need for European coordination with respect to the reopening of the internal and external Schengen area borders and the relaunching of tourism following the statement issued by the EU Commission on June 11.

With respect to migration, in the context of the close and longstanding cooperation between the two countries, including the support lent by France to Greece in the management of migration flows, the two ministers underscored the need for the Pact on Migration and Asylum, expected to be proposed by the EU Commission in the near future, to be ambitious, based on responsibility and solidarity, and to take into consideration the situation of the countries of first entry as well as the countries concerned by significant secondary movements.

The ministers discussed the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and in Libya, where France and Greece are working together to promote regional stability. The minister reaffirmed, notably in the wake of Turkey's recent announcements concerning drilling activities off of several Greek islands, the constant position of France and the EU regarding respect for international law and in particular the law of the sea. He also reaffirmed our position regarding all aspects of Greek sovereignty and condemned any fait accompli policy, as well as any unilateral initiatives that could lead to that. He reaffirmed France's call to resolve any dispute through dialogue and good faith negotiation, in accordance with international law.

With respect to Libya, the two ministers notably underscored the need to swiftly conclude a ceasefire agreement that would provide for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and for compliance with the UN arms embargo, while France and Greece are engaged in Operation Irini. The minister strongly condemned the growing military support that Turkey is continuing to provide in the conflict in direct violation of the UN embargo.

The ministers also took stock of the situation in the Sahel, following the meeting of the coalition on June 12 and in the context of Greece's increasing involvement in the region, which France welcomes, and underscored the need for European unity with respect to the situation in the Middle East and relations with China, issues included on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council in which the two ministers took part together via video conference following their meeting.

Lastly, the two ministers discussed the prospects for the French-Greek strategic security partnership, in accordance with the goal set by President Macron and the Greek prime minister on January 29.



European Union – Amélie de Montchalin's participation in the informal video conference of EU foreign affairs ministers (June 16, 2020)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the informal video conference of EU foreign affairs ministers on Tuesday, June 16.

The ministers will discuss the following points:

  1. Preparation of the June 19 videoconference of EU Council members, focusing mainly on the recovery plain and the 2021-2017 budget: The Minister of State will stress our support for the Commission's proposal of May 27, which is commensurate with the crisis we are experiencing and represents a very good basis for discussions. She will reaffirm in particular our support for the Community Loan Mechanism and for the €500 billion in budget allocations proposed by the French-German initiative of May 18, which is vital to the credibility of this recovery plan. She will also reiterate that this recovery plan must be seen as a comprehensive package that includes the multiannual financial framework and own resources for the budget, consistent with the ecological and digital transitions and the strengthening of European sovereignty. In this regard, the minister will underscore the importance, in the upcoming multiannual budget, of packages contributing to European sovereignty such as the joint agricultural policy, defense and space policy.
  2. Negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom: The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will present the ministers with the results of the high-level conference between the EU and the UK held on June 15 and will review the status of negotiations on the future relationship, which have been under way since March 2. The Minister of State will emphasize that member states must remain unified on both method and substance (in particular the governance framework of the future agreement, fisheries, and conditions of fair competition). The next steps must be taken calmly, taking all possible scenarios into account.
  3. Presentation of the Council's work program for the next 18 months (July 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021): The next three Council presidencies (Germany, Portugal and Slovenia) will present the Council work program they developed in conjunction with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. France applauds the efforts of this new trio of presidencies for having placed the European response to the Covid-19 crisis at the heart of the EU 2019-2024 strategic agenda. The Conference on the Future of Europe will offer an opportunity to strengthen the EU with the direct participation of citizens, applying lessons learned from the crisis and offering solutions to make it more sovereign, united and inclusive.



Algeria

More and more activists from the Hirak opposition movement are being arrested in Algeria. Three more were arrested on Sunday. What is France's reaction to the growing crackdown denounced by human rights activists?

France is closely monitoring the situation in Algeria, while respecting the sovereignty of that country with which we have a deep and longstanding relationship. The Algerian authorities have expressed their desire to engage in reform and democratic dialogue in response to the ambitions that Algerian citizens have expressed with dignity and public-spiritedness. France's only wish is for them to be successful in this mission and for them to implement the reforms they announced for the benefit of Algeria and the Algerians.



Libya

France asserts that it is not taking sides in Libya. Yesterday, the Elysée denounced Turkey's interventionism as "unacceptable," saying that "France cannot let them get away with that." Do you believe the Russian and Emirati interference is as unacceptable as Turkey's, and do you condemn that interference as clearly as Turkey's? And when France says it will not let them get away with that, what do you envision, concretely, to stop Turkish interventionism?

France condemns all foreign interference in Libya without exception. Although both Libyan camps have agreed to commit to ceasefire negotiations, forces favorable to the Government of National Accord are continuing their offensive, with massive support from Turkey in violation of the UN arms embargo.

France is contributing significant naval and air power to the EU's Operation IRINI to implement the arms embargo, in line with the conclusions of the Berlin conference.

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affair Jean-Yves Le Drian joined his German and Italian counterparts and the EU High Representative on June 9 in demanding an immediate truce and the swift conclusion of a ceasefire under the auspices of the UN. Continued foreign interference, and particularly the intensification of Turkish support, are in direct contradiction with this goal. It is unacceptable and must stop.


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