Statement by Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, on her arrival at the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers (Prague, 30 August 2022)


Hello everyone.

We’re meeting today, as you know, to talk about Africa and Ukraine, in a format enabling direct discussions, as always, the Gymnich format.

Regarding Africa, it will essentially be a question of working on implementing the commitments the European Union made on Africa at the European Union-Africa summit in February, particularly at financial level.

I’d like to remind you here that the European Union is the leading partner in the world for Africa’s development. That has to be said. Simultaneously, of course, the African partners are expected to implement their own commitments to support multilateralism and to support an international system based on the rule of law which enables everyone to live together.

Regarding Ukraine, I’m pleased to be able to meet our colleague, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Mr Kuleba, in person, and to be able to continue together, in a long-term and united way – I spoke to him about a specific issue this morning. We’ll see each other later; I’ll be having a meeting with him.

I sense questions about visas might be on people’s lips, and I’m going to answer them in advance. So, on the visas issue it’s important to distinguish between the warmongers, foremost among whom is the Russian President, his entourage and all those supporting his war effort, and, for example, Russian citizens, artists, students and journalists. The former are responsible for the war; the others aren’t. And we’d like to – and must – continue links with the latter. I’d also like to reiterate that the Russian oligarchs are subject to individual sanctions. So they won’t be coming to France or Europe to do their shopping.