Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - January 17, 2020)
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels on January 20.
This FAC will provide an opportunity to discuss the following issues:
- Sahel: The ministers will discuss the EU strategy on this region in order to strengthen the commitment of the EU and its member states. During the meeting, the minister will present the progress achieved at the summit in Pau on January 13, notably the plans, announced together with the Sahel countries, to launch a Coalition for the Sahel, inviting the EU to play its full role within it and reaffirming the central role of the Partnership for Stability and Security in the Sahel.
- Middle East: In follow-up to the extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on January 10, the ministers will discuss initiatives that the EU could undertake in order to facilitate a de-escalation of tensions in the Gulf, notably in the area of maritime security, as well as the most recent developments related to the Iranian nuclear issue. They will reaffirm our attachment to the JCPOA and our joint efforts to preserve it.
- Other current international issues: The ministers will discuss the situation in Libya one day after the summit in Berlin (January 19), which should foster the emergence of a political solution to the Libyan conflict and confirm European mobilization in support of this issue. The ministers will also address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the preservation of the internationally agreed parameters in this respect will be reaffirmed. They will also discuss the political situation in Venezuela and Bolivia.
- Fight against climate change: In follow-up to the Green Deal presented by the European Commission on December 11 and given the leadership role that the EU intends to assume in this area, climate diplomacy will be central to the discussions during this session. We will lend our support to the mobilization of the European institutions and member states in order to increase the level of environmental ambition of the EU’s future external action instruments, to make trade policy a genuine tool for advancing climate diplomacy, and to secure stronger commitments from the main greenhouse gas-emitting countries.
Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, met on January 16 with Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Cuba’s Vice President of the Council of Ministers, who was in France for the annual meeting between Cuban authorities and the Paris Club group of creditors.
During their meeting, the implementation of the December 2015 agreement between Cuba and the group of creditors on the forgiveness of arrears was discussed, as well as the implementation of the agreement reached by France and Cuba on February 1, 2016, on debt repayment.
They also reviewed bilateral relations and the cooperation projects discussed at the 4th Session of the Franco-Cuban Economic and Commercial Commission and the 4th Meeting of the Strategic Orientation Committee, which deals with the Countervalue Fund, on December 6. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne reiterated France’s desire to continue supporting the development of economic cooperation projects with Cuba.
On January 15, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs approved a new Internet-voting platform for the consular elections of May 2020, as the proper security measures were in place and a positive opinion was handed down by the members of the electoral commission.
This important milestone means that French citizens abroad will have the choice of voting to choose their representatives in May 2020 in person, by proxy, or via the Internet.
This third voting method awaited by our compatriots abroad will help facilitate their participation in democratic life. It implements the commitment taken by President Macron before the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad on October 2, 2017.
The electoral commission chaired by the director of French Citizens Abroad and the Consular Administration and consisting of the president of the Electronic Voting Office, the director general of the National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI), the Ministerial Head of Security and Information Systems (RSSI) and the Director of Digital Affairs, handed down its decision after reviewing audits and the results of a risk analysis carried out by independent experts.
The platform was subjected to a number of technical tests to ensure its robustness and security. Two full-scale tests were carried out in July and November 2019 with 12,000 volunteer voters under the supervision of the Electronic Voting Office and independent experts.