Official speeches and statements - October 9, 2019
I’m speaking on behalf of the European Union members of the Security Council, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland and UK, as well as Estonia as incoming member of the Council.
The Security Council just discussed under "any other business" the test of a ballistic missile conducted by the DPRK on October 2nd, which it claimed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile. France, Germany and the UK requested this meeting because of our deep collective concern about this launch. It follows a series of short-range ballistic missile launches in the past weeks. We reiterate our condemnation of these provocative actions: they undermine regional security and stability and they are in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
We therefore welcome the productive discussion that we had today. It is vital that the Security Council upholds its resolutions. International sanctions must remain in place and be fully and strictly enforced. The decisions of the Security Council are clear: the DPRK is under the obligation to abandon its programs for the development of weapons of mass destruction and of ballistic missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
We urge the DPRK to engage in good faith in meaningful negotiation with the United States, and to take concrete steps with a view to abandoning all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. There is no other way to achieve security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.
Thank you very much.
2. European Union - Migration policy - Statements to the press by Ms. Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, on her arrival at the Justice and Home Affairs Council - excerpts (Luxembourg - October 8, 2019)
THE MINISTER - Good morning. As you know, commemorations and tributes are currently taking place at the [Paris] police headquarters; Christophe Castaner and Laurent Nuñez are there. That’s why I’m representing France today at this [Justice and] Home Affairs Council, which will be addressing - among other things, at length, and I might say in detail - the subject of migration. As you know, France, Germany, Italy and Malta worked in Valletta a few weeks ago on a draft agreement so we can provide a humanitarian, mutually supportive, European, credible solution to the issue of landings and migration flows in the Central Mediterranean area. This draft agreement seeks to ensure, precisely, through dialogue between the countries of first arrival - Italy and Malta - and the destination countries - France and Germany -, that we can provide a swift solution for these people in need of care and avoid overlong negotiations, which endanger people’s lives.
We’re going to discuss this agreement. Some countries are telling us they’re interested in joining the collective effort because we won’t settle the issue with only four countries. Other countries are telling us they want clarifications. Still others are telling us they want to understand what commitments they’d have to make. I want to start by saying here that this draft agreement exists to manage an immediate situation to which we’re waiting for a solution today. It doesn’t resolve everything; at some point we’ll need to work with the Commission, as, moreover, the commissioner candidates have pledged as regards Schengen reform and reforming the right of asylum.
And we’ve got two very strong principles, as the Prime Minister and Christophe Castaner reiterated yesterday at the National Assembly with Jean-Yves Le Drian. The first principle is solidarity. There can’t be countries within the European Union which are resigned or indifferent. This issue concerns all of us. All of us are all affected differently because our geographical situation is different. But it concerns all of us. And the second important point is responsibility. We must have more effective external border controls so we know who’s arriving in the European area and we can get organized. So that’s the focus of these discussions today.
One of the criticisms made about this system - particularly in Germany as well, in the German political class, in the CDU - is that it actually creates a veritable suction effect for [people-smuggling] rings.
You know, 13 people died yesterday evening off Lampedusa: women, children, pregnant women. I think that, humanely speaking, we’ve got to come up with a solution so that these people are looked after and can be resettled from the countries they land in. It’s a humanitarian issue. Moreover, the draft Valletta agreement is temporary. We also know - I don’t want to get into describing things in those terms - that we’ve got to be much firmer about our external border controls so we know who’s arriving and, above all, can prevent people-smugglers and traffickers from circumventing our rules because we can’t get organized. And secondly, [it’s about] having principles of solidarity between us. As I said, there can’t be countries within the European Union which are resigned or indifferent. Some countries are more exposed than others; we’re doing our bit in the effort, in getting involved, but we’ve got to work collectively.
So what will France’s role in the resettlement be?
As you know, for the past year France has been the country which has taken in the largest number of asylum seekers who were on those boats, i.e. more than 600 people who have arrived in France in the past year. We don’t have any mechanical, mathematical rules. They’re also people who have case files, who have lives, and these [case files] must be considered, often [by] OFPRA [French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons] and delegates in the ports where these people arrive, [so that] we can consider their situation and welcome, as best we can, refugees who are applying for protection because they’re fleeing places of persecution or war. So that’s the French position. Germany is also doing this work. So we don’t have any mathematical rules; it’s not a mathematical issue, it’s a humanitarian issue, and we think that more generally our efforts now must really focus on reforming the right of asylum in general and overhauling Schengen. The President has said several times that Schengen has two legs, one of them marked “internal freedom of movement" because there’s protection of the external borders. Those two legs aren’t currently balanced; until we’ve restored the balance, we’ll be in a complicated situation.
How many countries do you hope to rally to this initiative?
Today we have around 10. Things have to be confirmed. The aim isn’t to have a specific number of countries, the aim is to create momentum. We can’t let Italy and Malta handle things alone; that’s why France and Germany reached that draft agreement in Valletta, and we’re trying to see, above all, what other forms of solidarity countries can show in the face of these arrivals, not only temporarily but more generally, and those are Ursula van der Leyen’s commitments: to put Dublin, Schengen and the European asylum agency back on the table and for us to have, in that framework, collective action by all the European Union countries
Will certain people be sent back to Libya? It’s one of the criticisms being made by NGOs which say Libya isn’t a safe country.
You may have seen the letter sent by the Office of the [UN] High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, with which we do a huge amount of work, in particular to ensure that readmissions can be carried out even before people find themselves in Libya. Indeed, we have work to do with the countries of transit and origin. These people who take to the sea are often not Libyans but people who come from elsewhere.
We have to build the whole chain. This was also the purpose of the discussions on July 22 in Paris, where we brought together the foreign ministers, the interior ministers who are present today and also the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and International Organization for Migration. It’s with them that we’re working, so the repatriations aren’t to Libya specifically. As you know, we have to work on the whole chain.
On the other migration routes - because there are also countries like Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria which are going to present a tripartite initiative asking for more solidarity from Europe -, is this agreement, by focusing on the central Mediterranean, [inaudible]?
You see, there are two issues. There’s a temporary, urgent, humanitarian issue. What do we do with the boats carrying people who are awaiting care and reception in decent conditions? That’s what was negotiated and discussed in Valletta. We can clearly see that there’s a more general issue which concerns the eastern Mediterranean, which also concerns migrants arriving via Spain, which concerns the whole of Europe. How we put a system back on its feet which enables us to get organized. It’s not about being tough or soft. It’s about being credible and effective. Why should the only people with principles be the Eurosceptics and populists and those who want to close the borders completely - which, as we can see, isn’t a solution - and why can’t we manage to be responsible, have checks, know who is arriving and show solidarity?
I tell you, resignation and indifference can’t prevail on these matters, so obviously what we’re observing today in the eastern Mediterranean will also be discussed. And that prompts us again to take coordinated action with the European Commission. I’ve listened to hearings with commissioners who make statements on these issues; clearly they’re making strong commitments, because that’s equally important. But I say to you there’s an urgent humanitarian situation in the central Mediterranean which we see being repeated; there are too many deaths, there are too many situations demanding that we take responsible, concrete, European action now. And that’s why the draft agreement is being proposed for six months and not an indefinite period. And there’s everything else we want to put on the table. (...) It’s an issue which Josep Borrell and all us diplomats are working on to ensure we have a coordinated situation not only in Europe but also - I’ve talked to you about this - with the countries of origin and transit.
Is there a genuine political will? Do you sense it?
I sense it; at any rate I feel it. We’re having extremely close dialogue with a number of countries. That’s been a big part of my diplomatic activity over the past six months: going to seek allies, not symbolic allies, not allies for image’s sake but to ensure we can restore trust. European citizens are asking us for protection; they’re not asking us to close the borders, they’re asking us to be organized. It’s a test of effectiveness. If the only people who can ultimately say they’re managing to take a consistent position over time are the populists and those who think Europe can become a fortress, I think we’re losing out collectively, because that’s not a solution. So the political will is extremely strong, because the challenges are significant. And you can clearly see that France - this was the context of yesterday’s debate in the National Assembly - is in a special position, because we have, among other things, secondary movements which are linked to the arrivals of 2015-2016. Thank you.
3. European Union - Joint article by Ms. Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Vincenzo Amendola, Italian Minister for European Affairs, in the daily newspaper L’Opinion (Paris - October 4, 2019)
These are important times for the common destiny of European citizens: there is not just a new Commission, a budget which will finance the EU’s priorities for seven years is also being negotiated, there is the challenge of jointly managing migration flows, and a new European Green Deal for the environment has been announced with a view to implementing the Paris Agreement in full.
Our two countries firmly believe it is now absolutely necessary to carry out these policies not just for citizens, but also - and above all - with them. To talk about these policies in practical terms and develop them through dialogue, whilst listening not just to their needs and plans but also their concerns.
Emmanuel Macron and Giuseppe Conte therefore believe that a conference on the future of Europe could help those who live as Europeans on a daily basis to become more involved in it. For this reason, we are pushing for the new commissioners to come and discuss their agenda with citizens, on the ground, as soon as they take office.
Because our two countries’ special responsibility today is to carry forward the European project in opposition to those who want to weaken it. Making Europe tangible for everyone, everywhere, means setting ourselves the task of fighting extremism by means of results, not promises.
The other thing we both firmly believe is that European policy should not be framed only in Brussels, but locally. Our joint mission, beyond the discussions between capitals, is to see together, on the ground, how this can become a reality for our fellow citizens. This is why, instead of meeting in Paris or Rome, we chose Naples. We chose to meet its students, entrepreneurs and players who live as Europeans on a daily basis.
We are certain that the message from the people we meet will be rooted in the deep, unshakeable friendship between our peoples. This is palpably obvious, political differences and - sometimes - divergences aside. This friendship requires us, more than ever, to address the concerns which our citizens, who gave birth to the European Community, have always shared.
Responding to their legitimate concern in recent months, we reached an agreement together in Valletta for a mechanism to automatically relocate those landing in the Central Mediterranean area. This is a first step towards a mutually supportive, long-term European management of migration, which will be supported by appropriate financial tools in the next European budget.
To build a prosperous Europe benefiting all, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthening solidarity within the Euro Area by deepening Economic and Monetary Union, through the creation of a Euro Area budget promoting convergence. We want to encourage investment in tomorrow’s economy, tackle unemployment and put in place an innovative European industrial policy which can deal with international competition.
To build a Europe increasingly protective of its unique natural environment, together we lend our firm, concrete support to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. And to protect its heritage, we want to make progress together on a European mechanism to preserve European heritage, from Notre-Dame to Pompeii.
Italy and France are determined to work with European institutions and other member states to take forward this common agenda to benefit every European citizen.
Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, is visiting the Dassault Aviation site in Bordeaux today to attend the delivery ceremony for India’s first Rafale.
Mr. Rajnath Singh, the Indian Minister of Defense, is paying a visit to France on October 8 and 9, 2019 to mark the delivery of the first Rafale aircraft to India.
A high point of the visit will be a ceremony at the Dassault Aviation site in Mérignac, at which Ms. Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, will host Mr. Singh, in the presence of Mr. Eric Trappier, CEO [of Dassault Aviation].
This visit is a milestone in the relationship with India, one of France’s main strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific. Over the next few years, 36 Rafale aircraft will be delivered to India under the intergovernmental agreement signed between the French and Indian governments on September 23, 2016.
Following the Rafale delivery ceremony, the two ministers will hold talks in the framework of the second Franco-Indian Annual Defense Dialogue. They will discuss the many prospects of what is already fruitful bilateral defense cooperation, and the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, for which France recently published its defense strategy.