Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - February 19, 2019)
Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, took part in the General Affairs Council meeting on February 19 in Brussels.
The ministers focused on the following main points:
A/ With respect to the negotiations on the next EU post-2020 budget, the minister reaffirmed our priorities, notably with respect to maintaining Common Agricultural Policy funding and the creation of own resources. The minister underscored the importance we attach to taking into account cross-cutting issues, notably social convergence, the rule of law and budget contributions to climate.
B/ In the run-up to the next European Council meeting on March 21 and 22, the ministers held an in-depth exchange of views on the following issues: employment, growth and competitiveness; climate change; current international issues; the fight against disinformation and the need to safeguard the electoral process from any external interference aimed at undermining the integrity of elections, at the national level as well as in the context of the European elections. The minister also expressed our determination to ensure that European industrial policy is central to the discussions on the future of the internal market.
C/ The ministers also reviewed the rule of law situation in Hungary and Poland.
With respect to the situation in Hungary, France would like the matter to be referred to the Council so that it can conduct a comprehensive review of the commitments made with respect to the European Union’s values.
With respect to the situation in Poland, certain gestures made by the Polish authorities, especially with regard to the law on the Supreme Court, are a move in the right direction but these efforts must be continued. France would therefore like the Council to remain committed to the process that has been initiated.
D/ The ministers also discussed the European Commission’s concept paper called "Toward a Sustainable Europe in 2030." This document presents several more or less ambitious scenarios for the future on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) decided on at the UN in 2015 into the EU’s activities. Convinced that the transition toward a more environmentally and socially sustainable economy is a strategic challenge for the EU and its member states, France is highly committed to the implementation of these 17 goals by 2030 on both the national and European fronts.
The French citizen Philippe Delpal, a senior executive at Baring Vostok, was arrested in Moscow and is being held for two months in a case of fraud amounting to 2.5 billion rubles (about €33 million). Has France taken steps to help its citizen?
The French authorities are very familiar with the situation of Mr. Delpal, who has been detained in Russia since February 14.
As soon as his arrest was announced, we asked the Russian authorities to institute consular protection along with the right to visit him at his detention site in the timeliest fashion.
By attending the first hearing, our consular offices on the ground were able to inquire about the conditions in which our compatriot is being held and ensure respect for the rights of the defense, especially the right to an attorney.
The ministry’s offices in Paris and Moscow are closely following our compatriot’s situation and remain in touch with his family and his attorneys.