EU – Jean-Yves Le Drian to attend Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 21 January 2019)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian will attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on January 21.

The ministers will discuss several topics:

  • Disinformation: The Council will address the implementation of external aspects of the Action Plan against Disinformation adopted by the Commission and the European External Action Service on December 5 and endorsed by the European Council on December 13 and 14. France will argue for swiftly implementing this plan, notably through the establishment of an EU-wide rapid alert system in March. The minister will also underscore the need for the EU to require digital platforms to fulfill their commitments under the code of good conduct (transparency with respect to algorithms, removal of false accounts, support for fact-checking).
  • EU - League of Arab States: The ministers will make preparations for the ministerial meeting between the EU and the League of Arab States to be held on February 4, and the first joint EU-Arab League summit to be held in Egypt on February 24-25. In this regard, discussions should focus on regional crises and on strengthening cooperation between the two organizations on challenges of common interest: defending multilateralism, biodiversity, the climate, water diplomacy, and the safeguarding and protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.
  • EU - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): The aim of these discussions is to coordinate on European positions ahead of the EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting, which will be held immediately after the Council. France will urge that that meeting be used to bolster EU-ASEAN relations and to establish a strategic partnership that gives new momentum to cooperation between the two organizations, especially on issues of security in Asia, but also to defend multilateralism, connectivity, and the environment.
  • Venezuela: The ministers will address the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as well as the terms of the EU’s commitment with respect to this situation, among other things, through the establishment of a contact group to facilitate the resumption of a political dialogue between the government and the opposition, with the cooperation of organizations and countries in the region.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: The ministers will discuss the latest developments in that country following the publication of results of the election held on December 30.

During this session, the Council will adopt the first individual sanctions imposed under the new European sanctions regime on the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, a measure supported by France. Furthermore, sanctions will be imposed on Syrian businessmen linked to the regime who are involved in real estate projects that solidify the regime’s practices with respect to expropriations, demographic changes, and obstacles to the return of displaced persons and refugees.