1. Brexit – Situation of fishermen in the face of Brexit – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the Senate (Paris, 16/12/2020)
I’m aware of your commitment to fishermen, through your previous position, as you’ve recalled; I think you’re aware of mine. And both of us, but also others here, sense disquiet on the quayside over negotiations that still haven’t ended, even as I speak.
Faced with this, our determination on fisheries is total. The President had the opportunity to say this very firmly to the Commission President, Ms von der Leyen, on Sunday evening. Under no circumstances, for us, must fishing be an adjustment variable, so it mustn’t be the focus of a separate agreement, because it’s an integral part of the whole trade agreement, and so it’s inextricable from it.
If the British want privileged access to the internal market, then French and European fishermen must have access to British waters, i.e. what is at stake, as you know: not only consistent access but an across-the-board, comprehensive approach that is not selective according to species or zones; secondly, clear and common technical standards, including on the size of nets, meshing etc. and trawling gear. And finally, taking into account historical rights and the current quota system. That’s what is still on the negotiating table at the moment.
Even so – and you’re right to emphasize it -, whatever happens, even in the event of a deal, the situation will be different, and the Prime Minister announced in Boulogne-sur-Mer just a few days ago that an action and support plan will be very quickly put in place, with dedicated actions for the fishing industry. And we also know that a sizeable portion of the Brexit fund decided on as part of the euro5 billion of commitments made at the European Council a few days ago will be devoted to fisheries, whatever happens.
As you see, we’re determined when it comes to vigilance, but also determined when it comes to support./.
2. Brexit – Support for ports – Reply by Mme Barbara Pompili, Minister for the Ecological Transition, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris, 15/12/2020)
The President was clear on 14 July: France is a leading maritime power and is going to increase its resources to rise to the level of its ambitions. As you know, these are threefold: to boost the competitiveness and sovereignty of our ports, to make them stakeholders in our regions’ intermodality and economic development, and to speed up the greening and digital transition of the sector.
You asked me more specifically, given the period, about the impact of Brexit on our French sea ports. I can confirm to you that we’re obviously following this issue closely. For the time being, we haven’t chosen the option of free ports or special economic zones, unlike the United Kingdom, but we’ll be proposing several measures as part of the strategy that will be presented in the new year.
I remind you that we’ve already implemented several measures, stipulated in particular in the road map that was presented at the end of 2019 to CIMer, the Interministerial Committee for the Sea, and which we’re currently deepening. Since this summer, we’ve been redoubling our efforts. For example, in September we announced massive investments under the recovery plan, euro400 million of which will be dedicated to the maritime and river sectors and euro200 million to the creation of rolling highways for freight, enabling us to link the major ports by rail – Calais and Sète in particular, but also Cherbourg and Dunkirk, which is close to your own heart.
In October, the Minister of Marine Affairs and the Minister Delegate for Transport signed a ports charter with the employers and unions in which the whole logistical chain commits itself to strengthening French ports.
Finally, in November, we laid new milestones for the Haropa plan [to integrate ports on the Seine], among other things by appointing an interim director-general. Talks are continuing in order to deepen this major ports project.
As you know, the national strategy will be presented at the beginning of next year. It’s been the focus of consultation with all the stakeholders, and the Minister Delegate for Transport has confirmed that the nation’s elected representatives will of course be involved in monitoring this work. We’ll then be excellently placed to ensure the French flag flies high./.
3. Indonesia – Press release by M. Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness (Jakarta, 16/12/2020)
Thank you good afternoon everybody, it’s a pleasure to be here, to have this moment of exchange, because it is an important visit for me and my delegation in Indonesia. Because this year is the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties, it is very important for me and for France to be here, to send a message of friendship and of willingness to increase the relationship between France and Indonesia.
Indonesia in our strategy is crucial because Indonesia is at the heart of ASEAN and of the Indo-Pacific area. President Macron and France want to increase their relationship, their friendship with the indo-pacific area. And the centrality of ASEAN is very important to us, and to Indonesia due to its demography, due to the values we share, democracy, rule of law, the willingness to develop sustainable development, is very important in this strategy. So, in this time of virus, COVID-19, I wanted to come here in Jakarta. I came with the personal representative of our Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, François Corbin, who is just behind you. He is also the vice-president of Medef International, a business association for international trade, and that means that we want not only to develop our political and diplomatic relationships with Indonesia, but also our business relationships and partnership, in different ways.
First, we want to export more products, more services to Indonesia. We want to import more products, more services from Indonesia. We want to invest more in Indonesia, thanks to our investors and companies, as we want – and I have met with some Indonesian investors this noon – to welcome more Indonesian investors in France, because France is becoming more and more attractive. In 2019, France was the most attractive country in Europe, in terms of FDI, and we want to create more partnerships between Indonesian and French companies. I had the opportunity to visit yesterday a steel plant between WIKA and Matière, which is a steel plant to build bridges and that is a good symbol of what we want to do in the future, to deepen and strengthen our business relationships with Indonesia.
And that’s what we saw with the different ministers I have met – I met the minister of trade, the minister of maritime affairs, Mr. Luhut, I met the minister of communication and technology of information, I met the deputy minister for foreign affairs, and the secretary general of ASEAN, by videoconference. We discussed and we converged that there are many sectors in which France and its companies could create partnerships, could be useful and could be a good partner for Indonesia and Indonesian companies, in infrastructures, in environment, in new tech, in technologies of communication, in the health sector, in new energy or renewable energies, nuclear power, and so on, and many other sectors.
So, in two days, I had the opportunity to meet ministers, to meet businessmen, to meet investors, to meet the French community as well. It is not so easy with the COVID-19 measures, but I succeeded thanks to Mr Ambassador and his team to meet some French businessmen from the French Community, and it was the opportunity for me to tell them that together, public authorities, private sector, we are together to increase our relationships with Indonesia, with ASEAN, especially because you know France became development partner of ASEAN, and it is very important for us, and I thank Indonesia for that, and so, in this environment we are willing together to increase our relationships and partnership with Indonesia and Indonesian companies.
So, I can answer questions if you wish.
My name is Wella from I-NewsTV, I have several questions. On the cooperation with WIKA and the plant you visited yesterday, I just wanted to know during this global pandemic, how France and Indonesia are going to deal with the situation right now, regarding the FDI, is there any special regulation or special agreement that are going to be settled between the 2 governments, or… ?
A – Two things, we share the same views around the necessity of making the vaccine accessible by many people, all the people, all over the world. And we share a multilateral approach for that, thanks to the COVAX initiative, and we try to find all the funding for that, and the commitment of our two governments is very important in this direction, and we believe that we have to live during the crisis, to go on living, even if there are more sanitary measures, that is why I came, I came even if we have many tests to do, we cannot do all what we would have done if the COVID-19 didn’t exist, but we still have the necessity to continue to work, to meet each other, and so, in the plant, they have organized themselves with some measures to protect employees but still to produce bridges thanks to the expertise of Matière and the technology of WIKA.
So my 2nd question Sir, still regarding the FDI, what is France position towards the omnibus law which has been legalized by Indonesian parliament last October?
A – We think it is a very good law, because our companies need simplicity, visibility, transparency, safety in their investments, and this law, the way it will be implemented is very important. I had the opportunity to say to the ministers I have met, that in France we are in the same process to facilitate companies’ life, so that France becomes more attractive to FDI and if investments are more attractive it creates works, it creates wealth for everybody at the end of the day. So, I am sure that this law will be an asset for Indonesia in the future. That is what I wanted to say about the omnibus law.
Were there any discussions about the law with the minister Agus Suparmanto during your visit here about the omnibus law ?
FR – Yes, I confirmed to them that I think this is a good law, and that perhaps our companies will submit, will give some proposals for the implementation of the law, it could really be an asset for Indonesian companies, for foreign French companies, and for the people because when there is growth in a country, where business is possible, when investment is made easy, it is really useful for everyone.
As we know, a couple of weeks ago, there has been calls from some groups in Indonesia to boycott the products from France, and some to halt diplomatic relations with France, what do you think about that ?
A – I think that this campaign against France was not fair because it was not what President Macron said, what was spread on social media through radical networks. So President Macron, the minister of Europe and foreign affairs, our ambassadors in different countries, especially here in Indonesia, explained what is France’s position towards Islam, and there is no doubt that Islam is a religion like any other religion in France, so you can pray and believe as any other believers, and we have the freedom of conscience, and freedom of religions, and Muslims are citizens just like the other ones, they have the same rights, we have access to mosques for Muslims, as Catholics have access to churches. So there is no issue with Muslims in France, but we have an issue with terrorism, and we are fighting against terrorism. Other countries, like Indonesia, are fighting against terrorism. So we will continue to fight against terrorism and to defend our vision of secularism. And we see that the boycott of French products is decreasing, and it is a good thing. We hope that in the future it will be the case, because it was not fair, the criticism against France. People are free to buy what they want. We have noted the position of the Indonesian Government, not to support the boycott, it was important.
My 2nd question, is there a plan to make a business corridor between France & Indonesia aiming at making it easier to go to France and vice-versa ?
A – It is important to facilitate exchanges of businessmen or officials, but it has to be done while respecting sanitary measures, and so we are aligned on that with the government of Indonesia, and we are going to continue to work. It will be tough but in focusing on safety and sanitary norms, standards. It is very important. Because the health of everybody is very important for us.
Une question en français du petitjournal.com, vous avez eu l’occasion de rencontrer la communauté d’affaires française, quel est son bilan de la crise et comment la France peut l’aider à reprendre le dessus, et repartir ?
A – Je rencontre une partie de la communauté française tout à l’heure, les conseillers du commerce extérieur, mais j’ai déjà eu l’occasion d’échanger avec eux. On a pu voir d’abord que l’ambassade et ses services, étaient là pour les accompagner et continuent de le faire, et je les en remercie. J’ai pu rencontrer toutes les équipes de l’ambassade d’une façon physique ou digitale dans les deux jours qui viennent de s’écouler, pour les remercier, et puis deuxièmement, une façon de les aider, c’est aussi de montrer à quel point la France est engagée dans un partenariat renforcé avec l’Indonésie, en venant avec M. Corbin, avec mon équipe, même limitée du fait des contraintes, en Indonésie pour dire à quel point on voulait accroître la presence française, à quel point la France entretenait des relations de grande qualité avec le gouvernement indonésien.
One more question, I don’t know if it is going to be answered by you or the ambassador, I am interested in knowing the development in France, especially in Paris, about the global security law that has triggered huge demonstrations regarding to the article no.24. I read it has been revised, I just want to know what are the latest development on this issue ?
A – There are discussions within the parliament. For the moment, we don’t know what will be this article at the end of the day, but we want in the same way, not in the same way, we want both that policemen to be protected, because for the moment we have, for instance, some images of them that are put on social media to attack them, and their lives are in danger, we cannot accept that for the future, and in parallel, we want to protect the freedom of press because it is very important for us in France, so we, the parliament, will find the good path between security for our policemen and freedom of press./.
4. United Nations – Afghanistan – Statement by Ms Nathalie Broadhurst, Deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the security council (New York, 17/12/2020)
First of all, I would like to thank today’s speakers for their briefings and their work in favour of peace in Afghanistan, starting of course with Deborah Lyons at the head of UNAMA, whose work I commend and thank. I would also like to pay tribute to the absolutely remarkable work and the unfailing commitment of Indonesia as Chair of the 1267 and 1988 Committees and as co-pen alongside Germany. They have done a truly remarkable job. Finally, a word for Shkula Zadran whose powerful testimony, courage and determination are a sign of hope on the long road to peace that Afghanistan is taking.
Today, I carry three messages.
First of all, I wish to emphasize the need for inter-Afghan peace negotiations to finally get off to a substantive start. The agreement on the code of conduct for these peace talks that was reached on December 2 is an encouraging first step. But I note that it took three months to reach it. And much remains to be done. In particular, I would like to take this opportunity to recall that, in line with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, the full and complete participation of women is absolutely essential if we want a lasting peace. The preservation of democratic gains is, of course, a sine qua non for peace.
Secondly, I would like to recall that the fight against terrorism must remain a priority for the international community. France condemns, in the strongest terms, the recent terrorist attacks such as the assassinations of journalists and media actors that were mentioned in the speeches. They threaten freedom of expression and the very foundations of Afghan society, and hamper peace efforts. The level of violence remains unacceptably high. The conflict in Afghanistan continues to claim the lives of too many civilians, particularly women and children. An immediate ceasefire, in accordance with resolution 2532 and the Secretary-General’s call, is essential. Finally, and this has also been mentioned, the fight against drugs in all its dimensions, from prevention to the eradication of production, is also essential to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Finally, no progress towards peace will be possible unless all parties to the conflict truthfully engage in discussions. And in this regard, the sincerity of the Taliban’s commitment remains to be demonstrated. As we are about to renew the mandate of the monitoring team attached to the 1988 Committee, I would like first of all to commend the work of the experts and recall the relevance of the 1988 sanctions committee. As decided by the Council in its resolution 2513, the revision of the sanctions list can only be considered if serious and credible pledges are given by the Taliban in terms of reducing violence, but also in terms of efforts in the service of negotiations and the renunciation of all activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan. Our support for peace is constant, as we demonstrated once again at the Geneva conference. The European Union’s commitment last month to provide 1.2 billion euros over four years is proof of this, to help the country through both emergency aid and long-term assistance that will support modernization and sustainable democratic development, including the fight against corruption and institution building, while helping to improve the daily lives of Afghans, particularly by reducing poverty. But this support is not blind and will not be unconditional, conditions that must be met if the democratic gains of the past twenty years are to be respected.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I would like to reiterate that peace must not be achieved at any price. The fight against impunity is absolutely essential for those who commit crimes. The protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, must be an absolute priority, and all parties must respect their obligations, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
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