Official speeches and statements - October 24, 2017
1. European Council - European Defense Fund - Migration - Digital technology - Iran - Brexit - Press conference by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic - excerpts (Brussels - October 20, 2017)
On migration, we reaffirmed our commitment to handling every aspect of this crisis together in all its dimensions, from the countries of origin to our borders. In this regard, France made a pledge to triple its contribution to the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa by the end of the year; I obviously reaffirmed France’s commitments to the Sahel, which are already significant, both financially and in terms of military engagement, and which are helping resolve this crisis. And I recalled the commitment to 10,000 resettlements in France over the period 2017-19, in response to the Commission’s appeal a few weeks ago.
More broadly, the discussion focused on what our strategy must be on migration, whether it originates in the Iraq-Syria region or in Africa. And personally I stressed the need to take a fully integrated approach, i.e. not only, of course, to take a very resolute approach - and we discussed this point a lot - on Libya, which is currently the key transit country for the central Mediterranean route, but also to take a very proactive approach to the other countries of transit and origin.
Those are the steps we initiated in Paris on 28 August, which we’re going to continue in partnership with the African Union and our African partners, but they’re also the steps we’re taking throughout the Sahel-Sahara strip by means of the G5 Sahel force and the Alliance for the Sahel. That’s also why I wanted both the Alliance and the G5 Sahel to be among the reference points for the work of the Commission and the Council; and that’s also why it’s important for the whole European Union to be fully involved in this progress. (...)
IRAN / NORTH KOREA
Regarding Iran, the European Council - following a debate introduced by Federica Mogherini - confirmed the commitment of all the Europeans to the nuclear agreement with Iran and its proper implementation. In this regard, I had a discussion with Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister May, with very close coordination between our three countries on the Iran issue. We do want to do everything to ensure the July 2015 agreement is maintained.
Yesterday morning I had the opportunity - and I told my colleagues about it - to see the Director General of the IAEA, who informed me of the latest investigations and inquiries carried out on the ground in Iran. I expressed the wish that we could do as much as possible to inform all our partners and also those taking the next decision - i.e. the members of the US Congress - of where things actually stand with those inquiries and of the IAEA’s scrupulous work to monitor proper progress and compliance with the 2015 agreement.
I also emphasized the need at European level to make sure we’re capable of enforcing all the terms of the agreement, i.e. resuming economic relations with Iran and undergoing no American extraterritorial pressure, if the American decision ultimately is not in favor of maintaining the 2015 agreement. We also decided to work actively in conjunction with the United States to make a convincing case for the need to coordinate all the procedures that will enable the agreement to be maintained.
More broadly, I was able to share my desire to begin a discussion with Iran, too, on ballistic activity and Iran’s regional influence on several countries, and I believe there was strong consensus around the table on this today. We also talked about North Korea, highlighting the value of the agreement with Iran itself, insofar as North Korea perfectly illustrates the consequences of totally breaking off all discussions. And on this issue the European Council adopted some very firm conclusions, in line with the position France has consistently taken at the United Nations Security Council and after new European sanctions were adopted by our foreign ministers on Monday. (...)
This morning the 27 of us discussed Brexit, with a very simple message on the issue: we all welcomed the European Union’s unity of method and representation behind a structured agenda and a single representative. And so we all reconfirmed the desired method and talked about all the parameters of phase one - and in particular the three formative parameters which the negotiating mandate gave Michel Barnier - and about maintaining a single channel of discussions around Michel Barnier.
We recognized the gestures of openness shown by Theresa May in recent weeks, in the Florence speech and her public speeches, and confirmed our desire to embark on a second discussion phase in good time. But all this must be done in an orderly fashion, fully respecting our determination and unity when it comes to having an extremely clear sequencing of the various phases.
The report Michel Barnier provided on the current negotiations highlighted the fact that while those negotiations have made progress, the United Kingdom still has to make a significant effort in financial terms.
We’re currently a long way off the mark in terms of financial commitments, and if we want - as Prime Minister May pledged in her Florence speech - to be sure that no one will have to pay more or receive less, and be sure the UK will honor all the commitments it made as a European Union member, today I’d say we’re far from having achieved the financial commitments necessary for embarking on phase two. And so, while welcoming the steps forward, I want to reiterate here our determination to be extremely structured, and all the work that has yet to be done. (...)
2. United Kingdom - Meeting between Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mr. David Davis, British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - October 23, 2017)
On October 23, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian is hosting Mr David Davis, the British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. This is Mr. Davis’s first trip to France in connection with his duties.
M. Jean-Yves Le Drian will listen to a presentation by Mr. Davis on the British goals in the Brexit negotiations and will remind him of the European Union’s expectations, in line with the fundamental conditions and principles articulated in the guidelines of the European Council of April 27 and implemented by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Mr. Michel Barnier.
As a reminder, the European Council of October 20 noted that the work currently under way needs to continue, with a second phase of negotiations dealing with the framework for future relations or transitional measures. The European Council indicated, however, that such a phase could be envisaged in December if sufficient progress had been made in current negotiations on citizens’ rights, Ireland, and financial obligations. (...)
3. Foreign policy - Spain - Italy - Czech Republic - Iran - North Korea - Syria - Interview given by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to the weekly newspaper "Le Journal du dimanche" (Paris - October 22, 2017)
SPAIN / CATALONIA
Q. - You were on a working visit to Madrid on Friday, and you know Spain well because of your wife, who is Franco-Spanish. What’s your reaction to Mariano Rajoy putting Catalonia under direct rule?
THE MINISTER - The important thing for me in this matter is that the rule of law is respected and that that’s the key reference everywhere in the European enterprise. Otherwise we go back to a situation of dangerous fragmentation. Mr. Rajoy has announced elections to be held as soon as possible in Catalonia. I hope they make it possible to clarify the situation and to rejoin the path of constructive dialogue in renewed calm and within a legal framework. (...)
IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM / TRUMP
Q. - How do you feel about the change of direction taken by Donald Trump vis-à-vis the Iran nuclear issue?
THE MINISTER - Never, since the end of the Cold War, have we known a situation so fraught with tensions and risks. President Trump refuses to take account of multilateralism, yet it’s a necessity for global security and also a historic opportunity for American power. We must adapt to this American presidency, without ever forgetting that the United States is our historic ally and will remain so.
Q. - Emmanuel Macron often makes out that he can persuade Donald Trump to change his mind. Isn’t this a bit vain?
THE MINISTER - Everyone can see that the French President has established a close, frank dialogue with his American counterpart. This is the first requirement for bringing about a change one day in the partner’s position. As regards Iran, we’ve got to persuade the Trump administration and Congress that the prevention of nuclear proliferation is an issue of vital importance to mankind. Non-compliance with the Vienna agreement with Iran would de facto encourage the hardliners in Tehran to resume the bomb-making program. An uncontrollable spiral of proliferation throughout the region would then be triggered, with everyone else seeking to acquire nuclear weapons as well. For the same reason, North Korea would be encouraged to continue its provocations. North Korea’s neighbors could then also opt to enter the race for a bomb. From then on, the specter of nuclear conflict wouldn’t be very far off.
Q. - President Trump is advising Congress to adopt extra sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard...
THE MINISTER - Iran’s behavior, when it comes to ballistic missiles or throughout the Middle East, goes against the rules of international security and our own security interests. They [the Iranians] seem to want to build a sort of territorial glacis around their country. This isn’t acceptable. I’ll be going to Tehran soon to talk about all these points.
Q. - In North Korea, is there really a hope of negotiating anything with Kim Jong-un?
THE MINISTER - The explosion which occurred during the nuclear test in September was equal to 10 Hiroshimas, and it’s now a fact that the North Koreans are able to have an intercontinental ballistic capability. They still have to miniaturize the bomb, and things may move very quickly on from there. This is why it’s essential to bring the North Korean authorities to the negotiating table quickly. The only way to do this is through power relationships. At this stage, this entails a stepping-up of the sanctions and their application by everyone.
Q. - Aren’t you furious to see that the jihadists from Raqqa, some of whom are French-speaking, were able to flee safe and sound, protected by an agreement with the local authorities?
THE MINISTER - I was deeply moved by Raqqa’s liberation and the end of Daesh [so-called ISIL]. Raqqa was the epicenter where barbaric attacks in Paris, which cannot and must not be forgotten, were fomented. The recapture of that city was, for us, one of the purposes of the war. A local agreement has admittedly allowed certain jihadists to flee in return for Raqqa being recaptured more swiftly. But they’ll regroup in a final stronghold which will end up falling too. It’s their swan song.
Q. - Is Raqqa going to end up back in Bashar al-Assad’s hands?
THE MINISTER - Certainly not, because it was recaptured by forces opposed to the regime. The time has come to talk about Syria’s political future, to prevent it from being «Balkanized». France, for its part, will be a player in Raqqa’s stabilization by paying for its mine clearance by NGOs, as well as access to water and [medical] care for the population. We’re also proposing that substantial discussions be held in November between the major powers involved about an agenda to do with stabilizing the country, writing a new constitution and preparing for free elections. If we don’t manage to do this, it will spell the break-up of Syria.
Q. - In Iraq, is France going to maintain its military effort now that Mosul has been recaptured from Daesh?
THE MINISTER - In Iraq, we’ve already entered the post-Daesh era. We won the war; we’ve now got to win the peace. We’re going to go on training the Iraqi forces in Baghdad and the Kurdish forces in Erbil. We’re also involved in rebuilding work. In this respect, bringing Mosul University, which Daesh made one of its headquarters, back to life is one of our objectives.
On October 23, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs welcomed elected officials from Mayotte, at their request. The goal was to continue consultations begun on 28 September at the Ministry for Overseas France on the road map produced by the France-Comoros High Joint Council.
On this occasion, Mr. Le Drian reaffirmed the reciprocal commitments made on September 12 by Comoros and France to create conditions favorable to the safe, regular movement of individuals and to combat illegal migration and trafficking.
Following the decision taken in September to delay the implementation of the road map, an agreement was reached today with elected officials from Mayotte to continue close consultations in order to help advance the dialogue with the Comorian authorities.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs also expressed his wish to see the elected officials of Mayotte included in the work of the future joint commission on development issues and at upcoming meetings of the High Joint Council.
Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin and French Minister of State [for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition] Brune Poirson met in Stockholm today to agree on joint efforts to speed up the implementation of the Paris Agreement on the climate. The meeting was held a week after the European agreement on member states’ climate targets and just after the closure of the pre-COP meeting in Fiji, in preparation for the forthcoming climate negotiations.
The meeting was also held in the framework of preparations for the Franco-Swedish strategic partnership on green innovation, due to be launched by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Gothenburg on November 17, and for the climate summit to be held in Paris on December 12.
France and Sweden agree on the urgent need to implement the Paris Agreement. The importance of next week’s IPCC meeting - aimed at providing scientific back-up for the Paris Agreement’s climate targets - was emphasized.
Scientific studies demonstrate that the stability of ecosystems is still in danger. States, regions, cities and businesses must now step up their efforts to go beyond their commitments in the Paris Agreement. «Otherwise we’re going to fail in our joint target of limiting global warming to under 2ºC and our efforts to remain under 1.5ºC,» said Isabella Lövin and Brune Poirson.
France and Sweden agreed to work more closely to find ways of strengthening the European Union’s leadership on the climate. To this end, the two countries plan to develop ongoing dialogue in the framework of the Green Growth Group or GGG (a bloc made up of 16 countries in the EU).
The two countries agreed on the need for the EU to be ready to increase its climate ambition, in conjunction with the international discussions planned in 2018.
In the framework of the GGG, France and Sweden would also like to work to ensure that the post-2020 European budget (the Multiannual Financial Framework) is in line with the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets.
Among other things, the two ministers agreed that in the coming decades it will be paramount for the EU to bring down vehicle emissions. France and Sweden will cooperate to speed up action and policies within the EU to develop a genuine European industrial policy, in order to develop competitiveness in the field of renewable energy, particularly electric batteries and second-generation biofuels. At the same time, they decided to coordinate their positions on the goal of halting imported deforestation by 2020.
The European Commission’s proposal on new standards for CO2 emitted by cars must be very ambitious and include clear targets for 2025 and indicative targets for the long term, up to 2030, aimed at continuing the transition to zero-emissions vehicles. The transition to electric transport must also be speeded up.
With a view to the Paris climate summit set for December 12, they agreed to coordinate their actions on green finance, in order to speed up initiatives taken at European level to redirect financial flows towards a low-carbon economy, measure and reduce the carbon footprint and improve the criteria for developing green bonds. Finally, they agreed to share good practice in terms of financing energy-efficient buildings, by adapting and developing shared European financial tools in the sector.
Isabella Lövin and Brune Poirson both said these measures are not only in the interest of protecting European Union citizens against climate risk but also support the competitiveness of Europe, which is currently not taking advantage of all the opportunities of the green economy.