European Union - Jean-Yves Le Drian’s participation in the EU Foreign Affairs Council (22 March 2021)


Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on March 22.

This meeting will be largely devoted to respect for human rights: The ministers will discuss ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the EU’s policy in this area, following the adoption of its new specific sanctions regime. During the meeting, there will be a discussion via video conference with Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the context of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council which France has rejoined for the 2021-2023 biennium.

In the run-up to the European Council on March 25 and 26, the ministers will discuss EU-Russia relations in order to confirm European unity on this issue, based on firmness and continued dialogue on issues of common interest and the willingness to lend greater support to Russian civil society. They will also discuss relations with Turkey, in order to reaffirm the need to ensure that the new climate of dialogue between Turkey and the EU continues to be followed up in practice over the long term.

The meeting will also be devoted to the particularly troubling situation in Burma/ Myanmar, in the context of the adoption by the EU of sanctions targeted against those responsible for the coup. The minsters will also examine the situation in Hong Kong, notably the reform of Hong Kong’s electoral system, which constitutes a further violation of the “one country, two systems” principle.

The ministers will discuss relations with the southern shore of the Mediterranean, following the publication of the communication by the European institutions in support of the new “Agenda for the Mediterranean.” The minister will stress to his partners the strategic importance of the EU’s Southern Neighborhood and the need to strengthen political dialogue with the countries in this region, while strengthening ties between societies on both sides of the Mediterranean.

Discussions will also focus on other international issues to which the EU remains fully committed, and regarding which it must utilize all levers at its disposal; Lebanon; Georgia, through its direct mediation efforts to achieve a political settlement in this country; the Western Balkans, in order to reaffirm our support with respect to the rule of law, health, the economy and security; Venezuela.