Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - July 19, 2019)
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted his new Danish counterpart, Jeppe Kofod, this morning. He expressed our country’s desire to continue its excellent bilateral cooperation with Denmark, building on President Macron’s state visit on August 28 and 29, 2018.
The two ministers discussed the major international issues on which France and Denmark are working closely together, as well as our cooperation on security and defense, among other things within the European Intervention Initiative (EI2). Mr. Le Drian hailed Denmark’s engagement in the Sahel. They also discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
With respect to Iran, the minister raised our concerns over the escalation of tensions in connection with the nuclear issue, and the need to preserve the 2015 Vienna agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPoA). The two ministers reviewed the prospects for expanding the INSTEX payment mechanism, a now operational structure to facilitate the development of legitimate trade with Iran, and which other EU member states, including Denmark, are eligible to join.
Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is paying a visit to Ireland today and tomorrow on the invitation of her counterpart, Helen McEntee.
The visit will provide an opportunity for the two ministers of state to discuss the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. They will visit the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and stress the importance of not restoring a physical border: in this regard, they will recall that the safety net (backstop) provided for in the withdrawal agreement signed between the British government and the European Union is currently still the only credible solution. France will continue to support Ireland’s concerns. On this matter, the unity of the 27, under the authority of the European Union negotiator, remains essential. The Minister of State will also emphasize the need to protect the interests of our fishermen, whatever the outcome of the British withdrawal.
The ministers of state will discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with a view to strengthening and making full use of our similar views, in particular about keeping the Common Agricultural Policy at its current EU27 level in the next MFF. Amélie de Montchalin and Helen McEntee will also discuss strengthening the internal market and bringing about greater economic, social and tax convergence between the member states.
Finally, the Minister of State will stress the importance of the electricity interconnector project between our two countries and the usefulness of stepping up our direct maritime links.
France welcomes the comprehensive agreement concluded by the concerned parties on July 17 in Minsk on a comprehensive, lasting and unlimited ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, to enter in force on July 21.
This commitment must now be implemented concretely on the ground to benefit civilian populations.
Additional progress in the area of security is needed to definitively end the violence, notably through the implementation of commitments on the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the disengagement of forces, and mine clearance. The Minsk agreements are the accepted basis for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine and must be implemented in their entirety.