Ukraine, Moldova and Romania – Visit by Mme Catherine Colonna (26-27 January 2023)


Mme Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting Ukraine, Moldova and Romania on 26 and 27 January.

Today the Minister is in Odesa in Ukraine, to demonstrate France’s long-term support for the Ukrainian people, following on from the international conference held in Paris on 13 December 2022 and with the country still facing the deliberate targeting of its civilian infrastructure by Russia, in breach of international humanitarian law.

Mme Colonna will hold a meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart, Mr Dmytro Kuleba, to discuss the developing situation on the ground and assess Ukraine’s urgent needs in the humanitarian and military sectors in order to provide concrete responses to them. She will reaffirm France’s support for Ukraine’s peace efforts, particularly through the 10-point plan set out by President Zelenskyy. On food security, the ministers will reiterate their support for developing the European Union’s Solidarity Lanes and implementing the Black Sea Grain Initiative, to address the consequences of the global food shortage caused by the Russian aggression.

The Minister will also visit a centre for displaced people run by the NGO Solidarités International, with the support of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’s Crisis and Support Centre.

Through this visit, the Minister will also welcome Odesa’s inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which reflects a recognition of the exceptional, universal nature of the city. She will thus emphasize the strong cultural ties uniting France and Ukraine, and especially the city of Odesa, twinned with Marseille since 1972.

The Minister will then visit Chişinău, Moldova, where she will be received by President Maia Sandu and by her counterpart Mr Nicu Popescu. She will reaffirm France’s support for the Republic of Moldova as it confronts the profoundly destabilizing consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, following on from the third ministerial conference in support of Moldova, held in Paris on 21 November 2022, and in preparation for the next European Political Community summit, which will take place in Chişinău on 1 June 2023.

In Romania the Minister will pay a visit, together with Bogdan Aurescu and Wopke Hoekstra, her Romanian and Dutch counterparts respectively, to French troops deployed with other allied nations at the Cincu base as part of NATO. She will have successive meetings with President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă. The visit will provide an opportunity to reaffirm France’s commitment to the security and stability of NATO’s eastern flank and discuss continued support to Ukraine and Moldova, as well as our cooperation with Romania as part of the Solidarity Lanes and the export of grain from Ukraine. Also discussed will be the main European issues of concern today, including energy and industrial sovereignty.

The visit will mark the deepening of the Franco-Romanian bilateral strategic partnership, 15 years after it was launched, in the areas of security, defence and the economy in particular.

The Minister will inaugurate the hub developed by Canal France International (CFI) and France Médias Monde (FMM) in Bucharest, which has welcomed and set up an editorial team comprising 17 Ukrainian journalists attached to RFI Romania’s editorial staff. The project also offers training and support for Ukrainian journalists in exile by making available to them a place to live, to help them continue their reporting work in the best conditions.