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Official speeches and statements - December 12, 2018

Published on December 12, 2018

1. European Union - Brexit - Statement by Mme Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, on her arrival at the General Affairs Council (Brussels, 11/12/2018)

THE MINISTER - You know, we are very much concerned about the postponement of the vote on the withdrawal agreement. We’ve done a lot to have the UK withdrawal agreement. It is the only possible agreement and we’ve done a lot of concessions to reach it. So we sincerely hope that there can be a majority to ratify this withdrawal agreement but we have to stand ready for a no deal and we are preparing for it, we had a vote in the French Parliament yesterday evening, authorizing the French government to take the necessary measures and we have to do so responsibly.

Q. - What can Theresa May be given to help her, given that there’s no wish to renegotiate?

THE MINISTER - We’re very concerned about the postponement of the vote on the withdrawal agreement, because that withdrawal agreement is the best one possible, the only one possible. It took months to negotiate. The European Union has made a lot of concessions for this withdrawal agreement to be possible. We aren’t accountable for the political situation in Britain today; the heads of state and government are going to meet on Thursday and Friday and discuss it among themselves. But our responsibility as leaders is also to prepare for no deal, because it’s not an unlikely scenario, and that’s why a bill was passed last night in the National Assembly to prepare us for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

Q. - Is a no-deal Brexit bad news for France too?

THE MINISTER - Brexit is bad news for everyone; a no-deal Brexit is very bad news for the United Kingdom. It has consequences for France, and to limit those consequences we’ve proposed that Parliament authorizes us to issue decrees. The National Assembly voted yesterday, so we’ll be prepared.

Q. - Are you pessimistic about Brexit, much more so than two days ago?

THE MINISTER - I’m very worried.

Q. - Will President Macron see Mrs May? What about the MFF [Multiannual Financial Framework]?

THE MINISTER - First of all, the heads of state and government will discuss the MFF on Thursday and Friday and they will set the priorities. They will work on this for quite a number of weeks and months. We have made progress on some priorities but we have to set all the priorities and discuss the amounts, so it’s a work in progress.

Q. - So do you expect a deal by the end of 2019?

THE MINISTER - We want a good deal, not a fast deal./.

(Mme Loiseau spoke in English and French.)

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2. United Nations - Iran / Non Proliferation - Joint statement by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK (New York, 12/12/2018)

We, as the European Union members of the Council, would like to underline our commitment and continued support to the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and resolution 2231.

It has been confirmed that Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments. The JCPOA has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear programme and ensures it does not develop a nuclear weapon. This is key for European security.

However, the JCPOA faces considerable challenges following the withdrawal by the United States and the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran. And we echo the regret expressed by EU Ministers.

As long as Iran continues to implement its commitments in full, the EU will remain fully committed to the continued implementation of the agreement. This was reiterated by the EU Foreign Ministers.

It is essential that the JCPOA continues to work for all its participants, including by delivering economic benefits to the people of Iran.

In this context, in line with resolution 2231, efforts led by France, Germany and the UK are actively contributing to the international efforts to preserve trade and financial channels in Iran.

At the same time, we are very concerned about the findings of the Secretary-General regarding Iran’s destabilizing regional activities, and in particular ballistic missile related activities such as the launch of nuclear capable missiles and any transfers of missiles, missile technologies and components which would be in violation of Security Council resolutions.

Though separate from the JCPOA, we call on Iran to refrain from such activities, which deepen mistrust and increase regional tensions and are in non-conformity with resolution 2231. We call on Iran to address these issues in dialogue with relevant actors.

We support a comprehensive approach with Iran, based on the pursuit of robust dialogue and, as necessary, targeted pressure, with a view to addressing all concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear, missile and regional activities.

The JCPOA is an example of effective multilateralismand and a key element of the non-proliferation regime. It is working and delivering on its intended goal.

We therefore call on the entire international community to continue implementing the JCPOA and resolution 2231./.

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