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Official speeches and statements - June 5, 2020

Published on June 5, 2020

1. Iran - Statement by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - June 5, 2020)

On 5 June 2019, Ms. Fariba Adelkhah, a researcher at Sciences Po’s Center for International Studies (CERI), was incarcerated in Evin prison, Iran.

Over the past year France has continuously mobilized to obtain the release of our compatriot and support her family and close friends. I condemned Iran’s recent decision to impose a six-year prison sentence, which was delivered without any reliable evidence and is political in nature.

The continuation of this situation can have only a negative impact on the bilateral relationship between France and Iran, and substantially reduces the trust between our two countries.

Today I formally reiterate France’s demand for Iran to release Ms. Adelkhah immediately.


2. Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh - Joint communiqué by ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Small Group (June 4, 2020)

At the invitation of Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, the foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Small Group met virtually today to reaffirm our shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and to create conditions for an enduring defeat of the terrorist group, which remains the Coalition’s sole purpose, through a comprehensive, multifaceted effort.

The ministers emphasized the protection of civilians and affirmed that international law, including international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians and international human rights law, as well as relevant UN Security Council resolutions, must be upheld under all circumstances.

The ministers, recalling their statement of 6 February 2019, committed to strengthen cooperation across all Coalition lines of effort in order to ensure that Daesh/ISIS and its affiliates are unable to reconstitute any territorial enclave or continue to threaten our homelands, people, and interests. Together we remain firmly united in our outrage at Daesh/ISIS’s atrocities and in our determination to eliminate this global threat.

The ministers appreciate deeply the address to the Coalition on the fight against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq presented by Prime Minister Kadhimi, thank him for his support for the Coalition, and acknowledge with deepest respect the extraordinary efforts and huge sacrifices made by Iraq against Daesh/ISIS.

While Daesh/ISIS no longer controls territory and nearly eight million people have been freed from its control in Iraq and Syria, the threat remains and thus calls for stronger vigilance and coordinated action. This includes allocating adequate resources to sustain Coalition and legitimate partner forces’ efforts against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including stabilization support to liberated areas, to safeguard our collective security interests. We welcome the establishment of a new government in Baghdad, and look forward to engaging in a fruitful dialogue with the Government of Iraq on our joint endeavour to maintain pressure on Daesh/ISIS.

The Coalition operates in Iraq at the request of the Government of Iraq, in full respect of Iraq’s sovereignty and aiming at strengthening its security. We will continue our close cooperation with and support to the Government of Iraq on appropriate measures to adapt the operational efficiency and coordination of our collective efforts to defeat Daesh/ISIS. We welcome the decision of the 2 April NATO Ministerial regarding the role of NATO Mission Iraq. While the COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on the Coalition’s activities and operations, the ministers committed to continue working with our partner forces to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic while supporting efforts to further dismantle Daesh/ISIS.

In Syria, the Coalition stands with the Syrian people in support of a lasting political settlement in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The Coalition must continue to be vigilant against the threat of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, to build on the success it has achieved and continue to act together against any threats to this outcome to avoid security vacuums that Daesh/ISIS may exploit.

The ministers also noted with concern the emerging threat posed by Daesh/ISIS affiliates and branches worldwide, in particular in West Africa and the Sahel. The Coalition reaffirmed its plans for a meeting focused on capacity building in West Africa and the Sahel that would fully respect international law, be upon the request and prior consent of the countries concerned, and be coordinated with existing efforts and initiatives, including the Coalition for the Sahel.

The ministers agreed on the urgent need to pursue information sharing on known members of Daesh/ISIS affiliates, including via multilateral law enforcement channels like INTERPOL, and particularly for border security purposes and increasing strategic communications.

The ministers, recognizing the challenge posed by foreign terrorist fighters who are in custody as well as family members who remain in Syria and Iraq, commit to pursue existing effective accountability mechanisms in close coordination with the countries of origin, including accountability for fighters who have used sexual violence as an instrument of terror.

The ministers remain committed to promoting efforts to ensure that accused terrorists, including those of foreign nationality, are treated appropriately and tried consistent with their international law obligations, including fair trial guarantees, and we urge the custodians of the detained Daesh/ISIS fighters to continue to treat them humanely at all times, in accordance with international law. The ministers further recognized that the situation for Daesh/ISIS detainees and family members in northeast Syria is of grave concern and recognized the importance of finding a comprehensive approach to this serious problem.

The Coalition reaffirmed its belief that this comprehensive effort is necessary to achieve a full and enduring defeat of Daesh/ISIS worldwide. The Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS has proven that it is a cohesive, adaptable vehicle that has sustained this important endeavor through stabilization, political, military and law enforcement lines of effort. The ministers also confirmed their intent to hold the next full ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition in Italy as soon as circumstances permit.

(Source of English text: Global Coalition website)

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3. European Union - Excerpts from the interview given by Ms. Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to Public Sénat (Paris - June 6, 2020)

(...)

COVID-19 / OPENING OF EU BORDERS

Q. - A question about borders. Are we perhaps moving towards 15 June for opening up the borders between European countries? Or how does it work? We get the impression that not all countries are singing from the same hymn sheet or pulling in the same direction.

THE MINISTER - Well, for a start we can’t have complete harmonization on this because the virus hasn’t spread at the same time, it hasn’t spread at the same rate and so it’s natural... that basically everyone also has a health situation to manage which isn’t exactly the same and still isn’t the same today. Comparing what’s happened in Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, we’re all in quite different situations. The key thing is that we’re coordinated and no one takes measures which jeopardize the positive progress various countries have made in terms of health. The goal I, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Christophe Castaner and Laurent Nuñez have is to ensure we are coordinated with our neighboring countries. We’ve worked a great deal on this over the past few weeks and months. We’re getting there and indeed we’d like to be able to suspend most, the majority of the [border] controls, particularly, indeed, on this date of 15 June. We remain very vigilant; if things change we need to remain flexible. The key thing for me is that on Friday I’m going to Germany, to the Franco-German border between the Moselle department and Saarland. It’s a place where there’s been a lot of solidarity, with, among other things, transfers of patients Germany took in. It’s somewhere we’ve also done a great deal of work on in terms of the border community area so that workers in particular can cross borders and families can go and visit their loved ones. I’m thinking especially of children and elderly people on both sides, so that we can indeed coordinate the lifting of controls as swiftly as possible and get things moving again. This must be done in a coordinated way.

Now I can tell you that it’s natural for there to be no harmonization, because the virus hasn’t affected us all in the same way. (...)

EU ECONOMIC RECOVERY / BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS

We’re going to talk about the economic recovery, because the European Commission presented its own recovery plan for the European economy a few days ago. So to detail it briefly: there’s €500 billion of subsidies for member States, which incidentally was an initiative of the Franco-German plan. There’s also €250 billion of loans. And then this money is going to be incorporated into a European recovery budget, between 2021 and 2027, which will amount to &euro:1,850 billion. Is that it? Has Europe delivered?

Well, we’ve in fact got to resume things in stages and understand what’s at stake today. There are in fact two major challenges ahead of us. Firstly, the challenge of bouncing back, a recovery: how do we emerge from this economic crisis? How do we emerge from it together? We massively depend on each other, it’s created our prosperity, it mustn’t become a weakness. Today, whilst in France we’re continuing to help our businesses - and doing so a great deal -, we can’t magic up customers for them and if their customers are in Italy, Germany, Spain, Slovakia or wherever, these customers must be able to place orders with them. So our economy as a whole must start up again, and this is what the recovery plan is all about. It’s basically about the plan’s ability to ensure we can bounce back, collectively, so that we genuinely bounce back because if each of us bounces back on our own, each of us won’t bounce back as far as we’d be able to together.

And secondly, there’ll be the whole challenge of investment: what do we as Europeans want to do for the coming decade? How do we face up to China and the United States? How do we protect our agriculture and food independence? How do we protect our industry and digital sector? How do we put resources into electric cars, for example? All these issues aren’t for the next 18 months or two years; they’re for the next decade. And so this is where we’ve actually created an ambition with this European budget. I’ve been conducting tough negotiations for a long time now because they’d already been launched before the crisis. They’re becoming all the more urgent because these sovereignty issues are upon us more than ever. The Franco-German initiative, which was put together on account of this, is probably one of the most important moments of the five-year term. It’s a moment when France and Germany reached agreement, not on the lowest common denominator, they aren’t summarizing their differences, they’re saying, "this is our vision for Europe; we want a Europe which is sovereign on health, we want a strong Europe playing a leading role in the ecological transition. We want a European industry which can assert itself: let’s give it the means." This is how we arrived at the €500 billion and also at the idea that this European budget, lasting until 2027, absolutely had to be ambitious and consistent with the digital transition, the ecological transition and so really get us to think of our power, our credibility and our sovereignty as Europeans.

For this to happen, you’ve got to get the 27 member States to agree; you’re the one who’s going to lead the negotiations and take charge of this. There are four countries from the North, the so-called frugal countries - the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark - to convince; they aren’t very enthusiastic about the subsidies part. How are you going to proceed?

We’re seeking an agreement before the beginning of July, because if we’re talking about recovery, there’s no point agreeing once things are finished; after all, we need to support this emergence from the crisis, so things have got to move quickly.

There’ll be a heads of State and government summit on 18 June and indeed we’ve got a few countries distancing themselves today. They’re saying, "If there are countries in need, we just need to give only to them".

I’ll take one example: Sweden. Sweden, as you know, is a country that hasn’t implemented the same lockdown as other countries but which, despite that, is going to have a 7.8% fall in its GDP or maybe even more, because it’s an extremely export-based country. And so while Swedes themselves have perhaps been consuming, I mean living, more normally than us, who have experienced a firmer, stricter lockdown, they still don’t have customers. And so what I say to Sweden is: let’s not get into theoretical debates, let’s not indulge in the luxury of spending time on debates that are objectively from another era, let’s look at the facts. The facts are that it’s no good you alone, the Swedes, flooding your economy with money; if the countries your businesses export to don’t restart, well, your economy won’t [restart] either.

So I think this idea that we’re not each an island [is right] and there are countries which do have the resources, but their resources alone are tremendous for them but won’t allow them to restart unless their neighbors are doing better. And it’s this vision of our interdependence which means, today, that you have countries that are progressing, and so you have Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, which are really seeing today that they can’t get through this alone. Germany has great financial power. Why is it proposing to put €500 billion in subsidies on the table? Because it clearly sees that its economy at home won’t start up again unless Italy starts up again, unless Spain starts up again, unless the countries east of Germany start up again too. And they’ve been very hard-hit by the consequences of the health crisis we’ve just been experiencing.

EU SUBSIDIES

And on the negotiation of this €500 billion in subsidies, can France make concessions and reduce the sum of those subsidies, or is France remaining intransigent?

We’re not at that stage yet, we’re not at the stage of making concessions; you can clearly see we’re not going to have European sovereignty at 80%. You either create it or you don’t. So if I say to you we want a plan in the aerospace sector, we want a plan for electrification in the automotive sector, we want a plan for the energy transition, we must genuinely create it.

If we say to ourselves, we’re going to look at the needs - for example, of a sector like tourism; we’ve just talked about it -, we have to put the resources there. And so today we’re not adjusting figures, we’re already laying down the principle whereby we all agree we can only get through this together, and that getting through this together means putting in resources which are genuinely shared.

The big revolution, if I can put it that way, is that we’re entering into a different debate from what was already the case now at European level, which was this fair-return approach. I put so many euros on the table because I want to get exactly the same sum back. It’s Margaret Thatcher’s famous phrase "I want my money back". It’s greatly damaged the European system, because in the internal market there are things we benefit from that aren’t exactly linked to how much we put on the table, that’s our collective dynamic, and I think today this crisis has shown us how interdependent we are and therefore how much we have to put in together in order to really take off again economically, socially, and prepare for the future.

HEALTH EUROPE

Well, this recovery involves a rather ambitious European budget between 2021 and 2027; Emmanuel Macron wants to create a Health Europe, a Europe that is sovereign in terms of health. In practical terms, what’s it going to look like?

There are three stages. First of all there’s the ability to monitor, follow epidemics, and we can clearly see that if across Europe we’d all had a bit more of this ability to predict, I think we’d all have been in a better situation. So that’s the first capability. Secondly there are issues of reducing our dependence on the outside for essential products, certain medicines: we’ve talked in particular about resuscitation medicines, protective equipment, masks, we think we may need to support the revival of a genuine production economy for those goods in Europe, in order to have them on our continent, to export them elsewhere, but to have the production capabilities in our countries.

And there’s also a third aspect, namely a research aspect. To be a continent which, on vaccines, on cancer, on all age-related illnesses... well, is a continent that is already very advanced but becomes a real leader that can also propose solutions. As you know, when people say we’d like to make the vaccine a global public good for fighting the coronavirus, it’s much easier to do if you have the research in your country, if you have in your country the means to offer those kinds of things subsequently to countries that are less advantaged.

GREEN RECOVERY

The other challenge in this budget is the green recovery. In practical terms, how can it be put in place?

It’s being put in place in every sector. Ecology is neither the prerogative of one party nor a sector in itself any more. We must reform how we produce our food, how we travel, how our industry functions. We must also think about our imports; that’s why the President - and we’ve made a lot of progress - upholds what we call a carbon border adjustment mechanism, a carbon tax at the borders. You can’t introduce extremely harsh but desirable standards in a number of sectors and also continue importing products where you don’t take into account the difference in the amount of CO2 emitted elsewhere.

On that point, is it likely there will soon be a carbon border tax?

It’s in the Commission’s plan. A lot of countries have joined us. It’s also an issue where we’ve made huge progress in recent months, because we can really see there’s a kind of clear-sightedness about the fact that ecology isn’t an issue solely for speeches, it must now enter every economic field. And so at least 25% of the recovery plan I’m talking to you about, this European budget, is strictly dedicated to the climate, but all that expenditure must be consistent with this transition. And so we’re going to invest heavily in every field.

And let’s talk about taxation, because at some point we are indeed going to have to finance this recovery and this European budget. Is a European tax going to be created?

What we argue is that you can’t indefinitely place the burden of effort on taxpayers, businesses or individuals, who already pay too many taxes - and given the situation, we’re not going to increase them, but we can clearly see we have no ability to increase taxes. That’s not what we’re seeking to do, it’s not our vision at all. On the other hand we can see that some people don’t pay enough taxes - I’m thinking of the GAFA [Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon]. After all, in terms of tax justice you have some people who are going to benefit from the recovery, who are going to benefit from the whole economy we’re going to recreate; can we make them contribute a little more? That’s a goal we’re pursuing, and we’re making progress, at European level too. I’ve talked to you about imports. The carbon border tax is also a good way of saying, "well, there you are, we’ve created an economic area of prosperity, you import products from us, why not? Now we must be able to see whether we’re consistent in terms of CO2". So those are the kinds of things we’re going to push for.

What’s interesting today is that there’s been a lot of movement on the policies, when you consider the situations a year and a half ago and today. A lot of those debates have now become interesting, when previously everyone took positions somewhat on principle. I think today everyone fully understands the importance of moving forward. (...)

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