Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part today in the informal meeting of European affairs ministers.
Discussions focused on the following points:
- Preparations for the European Council from February 25 to 26: The ministers prepared for the discussions to be held by the heads of state and government at the European Council from February 25 to 26 on health, European defense and the partnership with the Southern Neighborhood. Following the proposals by the European Commission to strengthen the EU’s health protection capacities, the ministers took stock of the vaccine policy and ways to demonstrate solidarity with third countries, notably in Africa. They also exchanged views on the different components of the European healthcare agenda, crisis preparedness and response, as well as the implementation of the pharmaceutical strategy.
Mr. Beaune reiterated the need to swiftly implement the recovery plan agreed to by the heads of state and government in support of the European economy.
- European Democracy Action Plan: the ministers discussed this ambitious plan revolving around election integrity, media freedom and pluralism, and the fight against disinformation. The Minister of State expressed support for adopting the Council’s conclusions, establishing the most immediate priorities and the terms for implementing the Action Plan.
- Conference on the Future of Europe: the Portuguese presidency presented the conditions for launching this initiative. France wants this conference to begin very soon so that initial guidelines can be adopted by spring 2022.
- Relations between the EU and the UK: after several weeks of provisionally applying the cooperation agreement, the ministers reviewed its implementation. Mr. Beaune underscored France’s special focus on fisheries and the preservation of fair competition. Also discussed: compliance with the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.