Official speeches and statements - June 16, 2022
1. Romania - Ukraine/Russia/European Union/NATO/Mali - Statement by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, to the soldiers deployed in Romania as part of NATO’s rapid reaction force (excerpts) (Mihail Kogalniceanu base, Romania - June 14, 2022)
[check against delivery]
I’m pleased to be back with you and by your side. I simply wanted to say these few words to you, obviously to thank you on behalf of all our compatriots; that’s why we’re by your side today. France is proud to be here on Romanian soil, in these eastern outposts, for the sake of our Europe’s security, at a time when war is returning to our continent. I want to thank all the units that mobilized so quickly, and the units that are currently taking over from them, for protecting us collectively in this way.
The seventh Alpine Hunters Battalion reacted within a few days. I think what you showed - by reacting so fast, applying these measures envisaged under the NATO framework in an unprecedented way, and deploying yourselves here - contributes to France’s credibility, the trust our partners and allies have in us, and our country’s strength. And I want to thank you officially for it. I’m also aware of the sacrifices it demands, the commitment for you and your families, many of you barely a few months after returning from external operations; I thank you for it.
The mission is drawing to a close, and in a few days’ time you’ll be relieved [of your duties]. I want to pay tribute to the relief guard, the eighth Airbone Marine Infantry Battalion, which is also here. Castres is replacing Annecy, and thank you for being mobilized, for taking up the baton. (...) I also want to thank and express my confidence in all the units mobilized, in the back-up, logistics and health functions, which have enabled us to deploy so quickly and be so effective.
I also want to say a few very special words for your Belgian brothers-in-arms. Yesterday I was at Eurosatory [defense show in Paris] with the Minister, the General and the Admiral, and we saw the effectiveness of the CaMo [Motorized Capability] partnership I signed with my Belgian counterparts a few years ago. We can see the capability dimension there. But here you embody the most important thing in my eyes: being genuine brothers-in-arms and being able to take action together, decide, operate, train, prepare and deploy. The smiles I saw and the first conversations I had with a few of you inspire confidence in me. I think what we’re currently building with Belgium is unprecedented, and I think what you’ve done here is a tremendous example of that effectiveness. People often talk about Defense Europe, and I believe in it very strongly; it’s built on these partnerships and this close strategic, operational training and capability link which we’ve decided on with Belgium and which you’re demonstrating here on the ground.
Our Dutch friends will come and join you, and relieve others of you. I’d also like us to go further with them. I also want to thank the Romanian army for its welcome, for the cooperation it’s built with you, and thank all the allies present, in particular our American allies represented here, who are playing an absolutely essential role throughout the eastern front of our alliance and our Europe. I want to say how proud we are to be able to cooperate with you, stand alongside you and therefore take action.
What I want you to grasp collectively is that what we’ve all done together, what France has built through you, is a unique commitment embodying our credibility and our protection. By deploying so quickly, so clearly, so strongly, you’ve helped bolster partnerships, build what is most long-lasting and invaluable between nations and armies, and create trust, especially trust with our Romanian friends and with the whole eastern flank of our Europe and our alliance. That’s priceless. No one can say what the next weeks and months will bring. We’ll do everything to continue stopping Russia’s military forces, helping the Ukrainians and their army, and continuing the negotiations. But in a lasting way, we’ll need to protect ourselves, deter and be active. In this regard, you’ve been the pioneers of these deployments.
In speaking to you today, I want to spare a thought for all your comrades who are obviously deployed on national soil, be it Metropolitan or Overseas France, at sea, in the air, on land and under the seas. And to spare a thought for all your brothers-in-arms who are deployed on external operations and especially, of course, in the Sahel. Many of you have passed through that theatre of operations in recent years. We discussed that too yesterday, in accordance with the plan submitted to me by the Chief of Defense Staff. Under Malian authority, we’ve returned the Menaka site in a fully organized, methodical way, respectful of our commitment over all these years and respectful of Malians and the relevant authority.
Before you, here, I want to thank the Chief of the Defense Staff and all your comrades, not just for this commitment but also for smoothly implementing the choices we were able to make.
Those are the few words I wanted to say to you and, through you, to all your brothers-in-arms - words of thanks, gratitude and pride. What you’ve been able to implement here is a first, and let me say to you, Colonel, before you return to the mountains, along with a few others: you can be proud of the mission accomplished here. Proud of what you’ve gone through with all your Belgian and [other] allied comrades, proud of this face shown by France, Europe and the alliance you’ve deployed here, i.e. a practical, protecting alliance, a concrete, responsive, protecting partnership with France. Take pride in it - I do; and I thank you on behalf of all our compatriots. Long live the Republic and long live France.
2. Moldova - Ms. Catherine Colonna signs bilateral agreements on the occasion of President Macron’s visit - Statement by the ministry for Europe and foreign affairs spokesperson (Paris - June 15, 2022)
On the occasion of President Macron’s visit to Moldova on 15 June 2022, the first visit by a French head of State since Jacques Chirac visited Chisinau in 1998, Ms. Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and her Moldovan counterpart, Mr. Nicu Popescu, signed a bilateral taxation agreement. This new agreement is an important step forward in the relationship of trust between our two countries and will help strengthen ties on the economic and financial fronts. It will provide a treaty framework for eliminating double taxation vis-à-vis cross-border business operations and various forms of individual income. It will prevent abuses, tax avoidance and tax evasion, in accordance with the most recent international standards.
France is one of the very first countries to invest in Moldova, with 124 million Euros of French investment stock in 2019, and several large-scale projects under way. Trade between France and Moldova is steadily increasing and the taxation agreement will develop this and ensure the legal security of economic operators.
The ministers also signed an intergovernmental agreement on the activities of the French Development Agency (AFD) group in Moldova: this agreement, which lays the foundations for establishing the AFD, Proparco and Expertise France in Moldova, paves the way for concrete partnerships between our two countries. The AFD group is already fully mobilized to provide a response to the crisis linked to the consequences of the war in Ukraine and support Moldova in its sustainable, fair convergence towards European Union standards.
As it pledged, in particular at the donors’ conference held in Berlin on 5 April as part of the Moldova Support Platform, France today also signed off a 15-million Euros budget support loan for Moldova to help the country deal with the economic and social consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.
3. European affairs - French presidency of the Council of the European Union/Ukraine/Russia - Excerpts from the interview given by Mr. Clément Beaune, Minister Delegate for Europe, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to France Inter (Paris - June 14, 2022)
Turning now to Europe, and Ukraine. There are also changes of stance.
I think many things can be said. Just a word on this, on Europe’s commitment in terms of its sovereignty, defense and autonomy: President Macron - I’ve been at his side for years - has never deviated an inch on this, when it was difficult and not very fashionable to be pro-European.
A word, precisely, about Europe, two weeks away from the end of France’s EU presidency: what lasting measure, reform will there be? Give our listeners one example.
Well, I’d mention the minimum wage in Europe, for example.
That isn’t the European presidency.
The French EU presidency...
It’s the French presidency of the European Union, but it had already been initiated beforehand.
As you know, European negotiations take a long time, several months, but France supported it [the measure] before its presidency, and France brought it to fruition during its presidency. I’m using examples, because sometimes people don’t know exactly what Europe does. This is very tangible. All European countries will be obliged to have a minimum wage. Ours obviously isn’t going to go down, but countries without one will have one - this avoids so-called social dumping, unfair competition.
Internal-combustion vehicles are going to be banned at European level in 2035 - that’s a huge industrial and social challenge. We’re the first continent to do so. Here too, it’s a decisive step, it’s exciting, and it’s being done by Europe. And I think the war in Ukraine has obviously stood out during this French presidency; we’ve had to face up to the crisis, but we’ve done unprecedented things on gender equality, ecology and social affairs which were probably unhoped-for only a few months ago. (...)
The Ukrainians, but also many Eastern Europeans and Europeans generally, were shocked by what President Macron said when he called for Russia not to be humiliated. Even Hillary Clinton, interviewed on France Culture at the weekend, thought that saying Putin’s Russia mustn’t be humiliated was an outdated view. Are you standing by what was said this morning? Are you telling us clearly: Putin’s Russia mustn’t be humiliated?
I want to explain two things, because that phrase has been quoted a lot. First of all, President Macron - this really makes a genuine difference - didn’t say: we mustn’t humiliate Vladimir Putin: he said very clearly from the outset, while many other people were being indulgent and complicit, that there was an aggressor, namely Vladimir Putin’s Russia; that’s very clear. Our support for Ukraine has been total, complete, at humanitarian and military level under our European Union presidency, so I don’t want there to be any ambiguity about this...
What’s the point of saying: we mustn’t humiliate Russia?
President Macron said what he said to the European Parliament in particular, saying we must think about what comes next, Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, we must build the period which comes afterwards, and at a given point, together with Russian society, the Russian people, we’ll have to find paths to coexistence, reconciliation; when that day comes, our mindset mustn’t be one of revenge and humiliation...
True, but today it’s Russian bombs that are falling on the Donbas...
Of course, but I want to be very clear about this...
And today we’re saying we mustn’t humiliate the Russians?
But there again, it didn’t mean Mr. Putin and it didn’t mean now, it meant when we build the period which comes afterwards and reconciliation. Today there’s no ambiguity: there’s an aggressor, which is Russia, there’s an enemy of Ukraine, which is Russia; we want Ukraine’s victory and we’re doing everything to ensure it.
So there you are, we have to be very simple and very clear about it. And while some people, both on the far left and the far right, were telling us it was all rubbish, that there was no Russian threat, we’ve always said it, we’ve maintained dialogue even so, but without being naïve; and during this war, sanctions packages and arms deliveries to Ukraine - all that has been organized, including by France, which I think, through President Macron, has been the country most in contact with President Zelenskyy in particular.
(...) A word about Ursula von der Leyen, who has promised to provide a response next week to Ukraine’s EU membership bid: the eastern countries are broadly in favour of a fast-track procedure; as for France and Germany, they seem more reluctant; what exactly is the situation?
Yes, there are two different things, without being too technical: the European Commission is going to give us an opinion as to whether we should recognize Ukraine as a candidate for European Union membership, and we’ll decide, the heads of State and government will decide at the end of June. I think we must give Ukraine this signal, be open to this bid, and then launch an accession process, to be perfectly honest, otherwise we create disappointments tomorrow; it takes time, because first of all it’s a country at war, so the urgent thing is to stop the war, then rebuild Ukraine, and then have it join our club under good conditions, both for the European Union and for Ukraine.
So yes, we must send a positive signal, I think, as quickly as possible; we must then embark on a long process. And what we’ve said is that in the meantime we mustn’t let Ukraine down - that would be a mistake; so we can have a debate, but there should be an intermediate political project, what we’ve called the European political community, so Ukraine can quickly join the European family, without being a full EU member in the short term, because that takes time. (...)
4. United Nations - Open debate on the role of regional organisations in the implementation of the "women, peace and security" program in the face of political unrest and power grabs - Intervention by Ms. Sheraz Gasri, political coordinator of France at the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - June 15, 2022)
[translation from French]
Thank you very much, Madam President,
I too would like to thank Albania for organising this debate and for your commitment, Minister, to women’s rights within this Council and beyond.
As mentioned by previous speakers : conflicts, coups or political unrest cause serious setbacks for women and girls, whose voices are inevitably sought to be silenced and rights dismantled.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban continue to drive half their population back into darkness. In Ukraine, women are bearing the brunt of the Russian army’s aggression. Many women human rights defenders and peace builders are being attacked or threatened around the world, including women who come to brief this Council.
The Security Council has established a robust framework to address these challenges, which are not irreversible. It is important that the Security Council intensify its efforts to implement this framework in practice in the situations on its agenda, from the Sahel to the Middle East, from the Great Lakes to Haiti and Myanmar.
As we have heard today, regional organisations play a decisive role in advancing the "Women, Peace and Security" agenda. France welcomes the strategies and action plans adopted. We welcome the creation by the African Union of the Pan-African Women’s Network for Conflict Prevention and Mediation in the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture. We also welcome the action of organisations that are not represented today, such as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, or the efforts of ECOWAS, shared in detail by the Minister from Ghana.
France supports the partnerships established by the United Nations with regional organisations, and the regional organisations among themselves. We applaud in particular the partnership between the European Union and the African Union for the inclusion of women in peace negotiations. We call on all regional organisations to multiply these initiatives and to share their practices.
We must also strengthen synergies with civil society. In this regard, we recall the innovative framework of the Generation Equality Forum organised with Mexico and UN Women in 2021. The Forum made it possible to mobilise 40 billion in funding to support a global plan to accelerate equality. We call on all Member States to join the dedicated Compact on Women, Peace and Security and to adopt national action plans.
For its part, France will continue to promote an ambitious and resolute feminist diplomacy. We will continue to place the full participation and inclusion of women at the heart of our initiatives and cooperation projects. We will make the implementation of our third national action plan a priority. Finally, and following the example of the Albanian Presidency, France is pleased to announce today the endorsement of the common commitments of the Council Presidencies on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Thank you Madam President.
5. United Nations - Combatting terrorism and building the Great Green Wall : Sahel at crossroads - Statement by Mr. Olivier richard, development and climate counselor of France at the United Nations - Consulate of France in New York (New York - June 15, 2022)
I would like to thank the Consulate for hosting this event. The French Mission to the United Nations is pleased to co-organize it. As the Head of the Climate and Development Unit at the French Mission, I am representing Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière who cannot be with us today.
The idea of this event was born a few months ago when my team and myself met with SOS Sahel. We came to the conclusion that West Africa and the Sahel were not enough visible, within the UN, so we had the idea to organize this event.
My key message tonight is very simple: it’s just the idea that collective mobilization can scale up action, and can increase the impact of our initiatives. I think that the history behind the Great Green Wall is an example of what collective action can do. This Great Green Wall was a dream in the 80’s, and it was launched by eleven African countries in 2007. But then, there were many challenges, many obstacles and several African countries took the opportunity offered by the One Planet Summit organized by France, the UN and the World Bank in January 2021, to launch a Great Green Wall accelerator. Through this accelerator, we managed to have 16 billion dollars of pledges for this project. This is an example of what we can achieve together and for France, most important, to achieve this with its African partners.
When I speak about collective organizations from a French perspective I also think of the European Union, because for us this is very important, and to the African Union as well. I would like to mention the European Union - African Union Summit which took place last February, which launched new initiatives and there is a very important one which is in French the protéines végétales, in English the plant-protein crops, which is a new initiative very important we want to promote with the African Union. I know that many West African countries want to be champions on this initiative.
But as you know today, there have never been so many people in food insecurity in the world, and we know that in the upcoming 3 months, 18 million people in West Africa will face severe food insecurity. That’s the reason why the Great Green Wall, the plant-protein crops are not enough today and we have to launch new initiatives, and that is the reason why we welcome the initiative by the Secretary-General of the UN to set up a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance.
In the same spirit, France, in its capacity as President of the Council of the European Union, has launched the Food & Agriculture Resilience Initiative (FARM), to fight against food insecurity. This is about solidarity, to make sure that vulnerable countries have access to food. This is also about sustainable production and to help African countries to increase their production, but respecting the Agenda 2030. This is also about making sure that the markets are still open and transparent, with no restrictions on exports, because it would be very bad for the access to the crops.
This is the time for me to give the floor to Mr. Adoum.
Thank you very much.