Source: France-Diplomatie – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development
1. COVID-19 – Lifting of patents on COVID-19 vaccines – Reply by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the Senate (excerpts) (Paris – June 16, 2021)
We’re absolutely convinced of the need to make the vaccine a global public good. And this goal requires a number of conditions: first of all, financial contributions – we’re delivering – and donations, where we’re delivering too and demonstrated this again through the President’s intervention at the G7 meeting in Cornwall. It’s not just words: 60 million donations [of doses]. I’d like to tell you, coming back from Africa and having confirmed with a number of countries France’s ongoing cooperation, that for all the African leaders these aren’t just words – maybe for you, but not for them. (…)
Regarding South Africa and India, we’re in discussion with them, including in South Africa, to prepare to establish vaccine-factory projects in Africa, especially in South Africa and Senegal.
The aim is to ensure that all the factors preventing the global distribution of all the vaccines, and global immunity for all the world’s citizens, can be lifted as quickly as possible. The preventive factors are, first of all, export-linked. I’ve clearly noticed that until now the United States of America, while being in favor of lifting patents, hasn’t been in favor of lifting export processes. This scenario seems to be changing since last weekend’s meeting, and so much the better.
As regards patents, we’ve always been in favor of intellectual property not being an obstacle to the distribution of vaccines. That’s still our approach. And we’ve noticed that within the WTO and WHO, the necessary provisions exist today to avoid any monopolization of patents by pharmaceutical production companies. It’s simply about implementing this. The European Union has just made a proposal to this effect. We’d like it to be implemented within those bodies – I hope with the support of the United States of America, which mustn’t make do with mere declarations but also proposals for action.
2. United States/Russia – Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris – June 17, 2021)
What’s your assessment of the outcome of the summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, notably with respect to the decision to launch consultations on cyber security and strategic security?
The resumption of the high-level dialogue between the United States and Russia is a positive development.
The joint statement issued by the American and Russian Presidents paves the way for discussions on strategic stability and arms control between two countries that currently possess almost 90% of the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. A dialogue with Russia on these issues is necessary in the context of the gradual breakdown of the existing arms control instruments, as noted by the NATO heads of State and government at the summit in Brussels on June 14.
We would like to see greater coordination between allies, especially within NATO, in order to set the agenda and the parameters for the dialogue with Russia on these issues. It must also take into account new elements that play a role in strategic stability, such as cyber security issues. We would like the Europeans to actively contribute to these discussions relating to the security and stability of our continent.
3. Foreign Trade – Boeing-Airbus agreement – Interview given by Mr. Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to BFM Business (excerpts) (Paris – June 15, 2021)
Was the agreement difficult to reach? The dispute dates back 17 years, obviously with all the consequences it’s had. How did the agreement… Tell us a bit about the backstory to the truce.
There are three major factors explaining the truce. First of all, the assertion of European sovereignty. We’ve been very clear for several months and shown firmness whilst reaching out. At the end of last year we applied customs tariffs, when the WTO authorized us to do so, to American aerospace and other categories of products, in retaliation for the US decisions. So we asserted our European sovereignty.
The second factor was the change of administration in the United States, with the Biden administration’s desire to forge a transatlantic relationship with Europe again, and therefore a stronger, revitalized, calmer and more peaceful transatlantic relationship.
And thirdly it was the growing power of China and the arrival of competitors to our aerospace flagships which, particularly because of unfair practices, threaten both Boeing and Airbus. So these three factors led to this historic agreement. A 17-year-long dispute and now we have an agreement that gives us a clear view of the way ahead, not only for aerospace stakeholders but also all those who have been collateral victims of the dispute, starting with producers of wines, spirits and other products that were very heavily taxed by the United States in the dispute.
And how is that going to happen, the lifting of customs duties? Is it already in place? When’s it from?
It’s already in place. As you know, there was a four-month moratorium, endorsed on March 11, which gave us until July 11 to negotiate. And now, through this decision, we’re maintaining that moratorium, in a way, but suspending these customs duties for five years, with a very clear desire to reach the best possible agreement in order, in fact, to mutually accept the definition of funding for public support to US aerospace on the US side and to European aerospace on the European Union side. And so objectively things are absolutely historic, because after a 17-year-long dispute we have five years of clarity ahead so there won’t be a trade war over aerospace and over those who, again, were collateral victims of the dispute, like [producers of] wines and spirits. (…)
But we still have a number of issues to deal with: there’s the steel dispute and there are of course questions about US extraterritorial practices that continue to cause us problems, banning a number of our businesses from trading with other countries – I’m thinking of Russia, Iran, Cuba and others. And so we have to continue dialogue, discussion with the United States. But we’ve now taken a step that really enables us to show there’s a change of attitude by the United States, a breath of fresh air.
4. United States of America – Meeting between Ms. Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, and Mr. Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense of the United States of America – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for the Armed Forces (Paris – June 16, 2021)
In the margins of the NATO summit on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, had a meeting with her American counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The Minister and Defense Secretary, who welcomed the positive results gained during the summit and the prospects offered by the Â“NATO 2030″ initiative and by the updating of the Alliance’s Strategic Concept, highlighted the desire to act together in the framework of the Alliance and preserve its ability to carry out its responsibilities.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to reiterate the importance of the ties uniting the United States and France. The historic alliance between the two countries, based on common values, the defense of freedom and of democracy, takes the form today, among other things, of first-rate defense cooperation in various operational fields (external operations, forces training, space, cyber, intelligence etc.).
The discussions focused on joint theatres of operations, in particular related to the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and Levant. The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss adapting the French military presence in the Sahel announced by the President. With France organizing a ministerial video conference with Italy on 17 June dedicated to supporting the Lebanese armed forces, Florence Parly and her US counterpart emphasized those forces’ central role in protecting the country’s stability.
The Minister and Defense Secretary discussed the Indo-Pacific region, a theatre of growing importance for Franco-US cooperation, and confirmed our two countries’ shared determination to defend multilateralism and respect for international law in that strategic region.
5. NATO – Meeting of the defense ministers of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for the Armed Forces (Paris – June 16, 2021)
The Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms. Florence Parly, took part in a meeting in Brussels on June 15, 2021 with her counterparts from Germany, Ms. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the UK, Mr. Ben Wallace, and the United States, Mr. Lloyd Austin.
The ministers reviewed the conclusions of the NATO summit held on June 14 and welcomed the progress made since the London meeting in December 2019. They also took the opportunity to discuss the prospects offered by the “NATO 2030” initiative and by the updating of the Alliance’s Strategic Concept, reaffirming the importance of transatlantic solidarity and the Alliance’s unity, based on respect for shared values and consistency.
The ministers also discussed the security outlook in Afghanistan in the context of the withdrawal of American and NATO troops, and shared their thoughts about the Indo-Pacific region with a view to greater cooperation between them in that region.
On the eve of the meeting between the US and Russian Presidents in Geneva on June 16, 2021, the discussions also focused on challenges linked to relations with the Russian Federation, particularly in the field of arms control.
The ministers concluded by agreeing to meet again soon to share their views and ideas, particularly on the revision of NATO’s Strategic Concept.
6. Lebanon – Multilateral conference in support of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) – Press release issued by the Ministry for the Armed Forces (Paris – June 17, 2021)
Together with her Italian counterpart and the support of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), the Minister for the Armed Forces today chaired an extraordinary video conference devoted to international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The aim of the meeting was to draw up a coordinated response to the urgent needs expressed by the Lebanese army in terms of troop support and maintenance.
The participants emphasized the continued deterioration in the economic and social situation in Lebanon. In this context, they pointed out how much the LAF – still an essential pillar of the Lebanese State – is in demand. Together with the domestic security forces, it plays a key role in maintaining security across the country. Its cohesion and professionalism remain essential in order to preserve the country’s stability. In this regard, the participants reiterated the importance of dissociating Lebanon from the regional crisis.
While many countries have already contributed significant aid bilaterally, the seriousness of the Lebanese crisis calls for increased commitment and coordination by everyone in order to step up collective efforts and improve the impact of the aid.
This international support, whose monitoring mechanism will be established by the LAF with UNSCOL’s support and in conjunction with the partner countries, reflects the commitment to Lebanese unity and sovereignty and will therefore contribute to the country’s stability. It is not intended to mobilize funds to equip the LAF with additional military materiel and equipment or pay the soldiers’ wages and pensions.
This exceptional support is an emergency response which cannot act as a substitute for the essential reforms which Lebanon urgently needs today for its stability, and the Lebanese for their security and prosperity. To this end, the participants insistently reiterated their call for the formation of a government without delay, as the current political deadlock is irresponsible.
The contributions announced during the conference are directly intended for the LAF. The participants emphasized that this support will also indirectly benefit the Lebanese people and be consistent with the international aid provided to them.
7. United Nations – BINUH – Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York – June 17, 2021)
[translation from French]
I thank Special Representative La Lime and Ms. Hudicourt Ewald for their very comprehensive briefings. I welcome the presence of Mr. Claude Joseph, the acting Prime Minister, to the meeting.
We are very concerned about the situation in Haiti. In the absence of elections, the Parliament has not been in session since January 2020 and the President is still governing by decree. Since the resignation of the Prime Minister in April, the Haitian authorities have not been able to form a government. No agreement has been reached to initiate the way out of the crisis that the country desperately needs. I remind you that it is first and foremost the responsibility of the Haitian executive to put an end to this deadlock.
The priority is therefore for legislative and presidential elections to be to organized in the fall as foreseen. To ensure that they are credible, three conditions need to be met. Firstly, the authorities must guarantee the security of voters. And I would like to welcome the establishment of a Joint Electoral Unit within the Haitian National Police; this is a step in the right direction even though much remains to be done, especially in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Secondly, the authorities need to establish reliable voter lists and accelerate the distribution of ID cards. 4.4 million Haitians have already been registered; these efforts need to continue. Finally, and this is the third condition, we call on all parties to work in good faith towards a consensus that will allow for the holding of a transparent election in a peaceful climate.
The security situation in Haiti is deteriorating. Gang violence, kidnappings, human rights violations and attacks against law enforcement are multiplying. Recent events in the south suburbs of Port-au-Prince show the climate of terror that reigns in the country. As we know, the solution lies in giving greater resources to the Haitian National Police, which must be beyond reproach. The recruitments that have been made in recent months are positive and must be continued.
When it comes to the fight against impunity and corruption, we have not seen any progress. The investigation into the assassination of Monferrier Dorval has stalled. Haitians expect justice to be done after the massacres in Grand Ravine, La Saline and Bel Air, and the perpetrators of these atrocities are still at large. Corruption is eating away at the country’s institutions and undermining the population’s trust. The Haitian justice system must live up to the requirements of the rule of law the population aspires to.
At the time when some four million Haitians are already living in extreme poverty and suffer from food insecurity, a new wave of Covid-19, more deadly than the previous ones, has added to the existing fragility. Allow me to express France’s solidarity with Haiti’s fight against the health crisis.
I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Special Representative and the BINUH team in an extremely difficult context. France, nationally, but also through the European Union and the International Organization of the Francophonie, stands more than ever by Haiti and the Haitian people.
8. European Union – Official Development Assistance: Council approves the Annual Report to the European Council on EU Development Aid Targets – Communiqué issued by the Council of the European Union (Brussels – June 14, 2021)
The Council today approved conclusions on the EU development aid targets for 2020 in the form of the eleventh annual report to the European Council.
The report welcomes the Commission’s analysis of trends with regard to EU collective and individual commitments on and delivery of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
ODA continues to play a crucial role in the overall financing available to help achieve the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, global ODA remains a critical source of finance for the poorest countries that are in a state of increased fragility or in a state of conflict.
The 2021 report takes stock of the EU’s development activities and its targets and financing for the year 2020, and highlights that:
- in 2020, the EU’s collective ODA reached €66.8 billion, up from €57.9 billion. Member States effectively achieved a 15% increase through a Team Europe approach responding to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic
- the EU and its member States have also confirmed their global leadership in sustainable development as the biggest global ODA provider, accounting for 46.2% of total ODA
- at the same time, EU collective ODA represented 5% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), an increase from 0.41%, which is significantly higher than the average of non-EU members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC)
- moreover, four EU Member States exceeded the 0.7% threshold of ODA to GNI, while that ratio increased in 15 other Member States. In 10 Member States the ratio remained stable, while it declined in two Member States.
[source of English text: Council of the EU]