The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - March 22, 2022
In this issue:

◢  EU – General Affairs Council (Brussels - March 22, 2022)

◢  France welcomes the signing of a Quadripartite Memorandum of Understanding by the WHO, the OIE, the FAO and the UNEP to strengthen the One Health approach (March 22, 2022)

◢  World Water Day – France is committed to protecting this vital resource in every way (March 22, 2022)

◢  Moldova

EU – General Affairs Council (Brussels - March 22, 2022)

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is chairing today's third General Affairs Council of this six-month term.

The ministers are making preparations for the European Council meeting on March 24 and 25, which will focus primarily on the Russian military aggression in Ukraine and on European efforts to make it more onerous for Russia to continue the war that it instigated. The heads of State and government will also vote to adopt the Strategic Compass approved yesterday by the EU's foreign and defense ministers. In addition, they will address ways to reduce the EU's vulnerabilities in the areas of energy and the economy and will talk about the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of State will then present the European Semester timeline and the main work to be accomplished during that period, including the recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area, which will be offered to the heads of State and government for their approval on March 24 and 25.

The ministers will discuss the work carried out by the Conference on the Future of Europe in order to prepare its next steps before its final event on May 9.

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič will present proposed regulations on the autonomous measures that will provide a framework for the unilateral measures the EU could take to enforce the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Lastly, the ministers will decide on a revision of the regulation on the status and funding of political parties and foundations. The approach they will adopt is based on a compromise presented by the French Presidency of the EU Council and aims to restrict extra-European financial contributions to European political parties and strengthen transparency with regard to those contributions.

France welcomes the signing of a Quadripartite Memorandum of Understanding by the WHO, the OIE, the FAO and the UNEP to strengthen the One Health approach (March 22, 2022)

On March 17, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO); and Inger Anderson, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), signed a memorandum of understanding to establish cooperation among their organizations.

This Quadripartite Memorandum of Understanding will allow the UN Environment Program (UNEP) to officially join the existing collaboration between the FAO, WHO and OIE as an equal partner and will make it possible to fully integrate environmental challenges into those organizations' joint effort with regard to the One Health approach. Coordination between the four entities will be strengthened thanks to a Joint Plan for Action.

The One Health approach is a cross-cutting, systemic approach to health based on the fact that human and animal health are interdependent and connected to the health of the ecosystems in which they both live. The Covid-19 health crisis, climate change and the steady decline of biodiversity make it necessary to strengthen this approach at the international level.

The establishment of this four-part collaboration contributes to that goal, as do two initiatives launched at France's behest: the One Health High Level Expert Panel, which will submit its first public annual report this spring, and the PREZODE international initiative, which is central to the health agenda of the French Presidency of the EU Council.

World Water Day – France is committed to protecting this vital resource in every way (March 22, 2022)

Every year on March 22, World Water Day highlights the importance of freshwater. This resource is fragile and it is dwindling under the effects of climate change, growing demand and the lack of integrated management. France is committed to protecting this vital resource and fully implementing the human right to water and sanitation.

The 9th World Water Forum is being held right now in Dakar. This year, it is focusing on groundwater, an invisible, poorly understood, often overexploited and polluted resource. Yet it plays a fundamental role in the water cycle and in ensuring the security of water resources. Providing 50% of drinkable water for human consumption worldwide, groundwater is essential to food security and crucial to the well-being of ecosystems, especially in arid areas where it is often the only available water resource.

France is mindful of the vital role played by groundwater and it is committed to supporting groundwater research and carrying out innovative projects to restore and preserve groundwater resources worldwide, in line with its International Strategy for Water and Sanitation (2020-2030), overseen by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. The French Development Agency (AFD), for example, is conducting a €6 million project to secure Dakar's drinking water supply that combines nature-based technical solutions with innovative modes of governance.


With regard to Moldova, considering that Moldovan citizens are all eligible to receive Romanian citizenship, how might this change France and the EU's attitude toward that nation?

France and the EU are mobilizing all their efforts in support of Moldova to help it deal with the repercussions the war in Ukraine is having in every area: humanitarian, energy, financial, security, refugee reception… The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs reiterated this commitment during his visit to Moldova on March 3, and more recently on March 17, during a conversation with his Moldovan counterpart, Nicu Popescu, and at yesterday's Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels attended by Mr. Popescu. France, Germany and Romania announced a donors' conference for Moldova, which they will co-chair; it is scheduled for April 5 in Berlin, and its goal is to continue providing and strengthening support for that country.

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