Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will visit Berlin on May 7 for a working seminar with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas.
This meeting will provide an opportunity to further strengthen the trusting dialogue initiated with the new German minister of foreign affairs who visited Paris on March 14, on the evening of his appointment.
The discussions will focus on key international issues, regarding which our countries work in close and continuous coordination:
- Europe: This topic will be central to the meeting. The ministers will discuss the ongoing work on the future of the European Union, the European Commission’s proposals on the financial framework as well as questions relating to EU expansion. With respect to European defense, and in the run-up to the major European Council meeting on June 28 and 29, Jean-Yves Le Drian will reaffirm our attachment to maintaining a high level of ambition with respect to the creation of the European Defense Fund and the implementation of Permanent Structured Cooperation, in support of the European Union’s strategic autonomy.
- Trans-Atlantic relations: in follow up to the visits to Washington by President Macron and the German chancellor, the ministers will reaffirm our attachment to relations based on the principles of free and fair trade and on the search for collective solutions within the framework of the World Trade Organization. Together with their European partners, France and Germany support the continuation of dialogue to promote a positive agenda on international trade and commerce. With respect to the steel and aluminum tariffs in particular, France will continue to make the case that the EU should benefit from a total, permanent and unconditional exemption. There is no reason for the EU to be subject to unilateral increases in tariffs. The EU must remain united and demonstrate solidarity, as it has done over the last few weeks.
- Russia: a few days ahead of the President’s visit, the ministers will discuss the rigorous dialogue we want to have with Russia on various aspects of our relationship: EU-Russia relations and the importance of maintaining European unity; the parties’ full implementation of the Minsk process on Ukraine, in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine; the situation in Syria; and the dialogue on discussions with Iran, in which we expect Russia to play a constructive role.
- Iran: pending the U.S. decision on the JCPOA, Jean-Yves Le Drian will have in-depth discussions with his German counterpart on various aspects of our relationship with Iran. He will reaffirm the approach defined by the President so that discussions may begin, in close cooperation with the permanent members of the Security Council and European and regional powers, on preserving the achievements of the agreement reached in Vienna in 2015, monitoring nuclear activities after 2025, Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the role of that country in the region, especially in Syria and Yemen.
- Syria: the ministers will continue the discussions they begun on initiatives to combat Daesh in the long-term, to deprive the Syrian regime of its chemical arsenal, to respond to humanitarian needs and to reach a political solution. With their Small Group partners, who met in Paris on April 26, France and Germany are working on concrete solutions making it possible to move forward with peace in Syria.