Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian will attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on November 19.
The ministers will discuss the following subjects:
- Central Asia: The ministers will make preparations for the ministerial EU-Central Asia meeting on November 23 in Brussels, which will be devoted to environmental, economic and security issues. They will discuss the EU’s future Central Asia strategy, which should be published during the first half of 2019, and which we and Germany hope will focus on themes of sustainable development and security/stability.
- Bosnia-Herzegovina: Following the legislative and presidential elections on October 7, the ministers will encourage political leaders to form new governments as swiftly as possible at the various levels in order to resume the necessary reforms of the country’s economic and social development and the rule of law; these are vital to its rapprochement with the EU.
- Ukraine: The ministers will exchange views on the situation in Ukraine, the security situation of territories under separatist control, and tensions in the Azov Sea, as well as the European response to the illegal local elections held in the Donbass region on November 11. The French and German foreign ministers will inform their partners of the status of the negotiations in the Normandy format (comprising Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine) and will underscore the need for Ukraine to accelerate the implementation of the reforms expected by the EU.
- Yemen: The ministers will reaffirm the EU’s support for a political solution, the only way to resolve the conflict, and for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s special envoy, Martin Griffiths, who is to present a “framework for global action” to the Security Council in New York today. They will stress the EU’s commitment to addressing the alarming deterioration in the humanitarian situation.
- Iran: With regard to the second round of U.S. sanctions against Iran affecting the oil, financial, transportation and insurance sectors, reinstituted on November 5, Mr. Le Drian will reiterate our commitment to the implementation of the JCPoA, in respect of international agreements and international security. He will reaffirm France’s commitment to preserving and maintaining operational financial channels with Iran so that it may continue to enjoy the economic benefits of the agreement and continue to fully abide by it.
- Security and defense: This point will be dealt with in a joint format by foreign and defense ministers. Discussions will cover the progress made by the European defense system in recent months: the expansion of the EU’s strategic autonomy, the adoption of new projects within the framework of permanent structured cooperation, a coordinated annual review on defense, the fight against hybrid threats, partnership reform, security and civil defense policy. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to examine new prospects ahead of December’s European Council. Also to be discussed will be the EU’s draft budget, which will include a new security/defense item and an increase in the European Defense Fund.
Finally, the minister will give a speech presenting the results of the first Paris Peace Forum and will thank the member states and EU institutions for their support for the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace.