Tag Archives: France

EU focus on Strategic Compass

Brussels 21.03.2022 “Today is going to be a very long day. We are going to have a joint meeting with the Defence Ministers in order to approve – I hope – the Strategic Compass. Which is not the answer to the Ukrainian war, but it is part of the answer. We have been working on that for two years, and when we started working, we could not imagine that it the last moment of approval, the situation would be so bad, and that Europe was going to face such a big challenge,” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said upon arrival to the Foreign ministers Council in Brussels.

“This is the moment to rethink the future of European capacities to face challenges like a war. That is why the European Union Member States will have to increase their military capacities. [And to] do it in a coordinated manner. As responsible for the Common Security and Defence Policy, we will be working to make us stronger militarily and use our capacities in a more coordinated way.

“We are going to continue providing support to Ukraine – with the second tranche of the European Peace Facility providing more financial support. We are going to have a meeting with the [Deputy Prime Minister] and Foreign Affairs Minister of the [Republic of] Moldova [Nicu Popescu]. Moldova is providing incredible support to the Ukrainian refugees. And then we will have a video-conference with the Defence Minister of Ukraine [Oleksii Reznikov], who will talk about the war situation.

“Russia is really committing a lot of war crimes – that is the word, we have to say it. What is happening in Mariupol is a massive war crime. [They are] destroying everything, bombarding and killing everybody in an indiscriminate manner. This is something awful that we have to condemn in the strongest terms. This is a war crime, a massive war crime, what is happening in Mariupol. The city will be completely destroyed, and people are dying. We will continue working and supporting Ukraine, with all of our resources. We will continue talking about what kind of sanctions we can think of again, more – especially related with energy. And we will see from [our discussions with] the Defence Minister of Ukraine, what is the situation there and how we can continue supporting them.

The enhancement of the EU defence plans is due to the France Presidency of the Council of the European Union. President Emmanuel Macron has ensured that his goal is to “to move from being a Europe of cooperation inside of our borders to a powerful Europe in the world, fully sovereign, free to make its choices and master of its destiny.” The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell clarified that it is means the EU should be “learning the language of power,” and being willing to act more rigorously to defend its interests wherever they are threatened.

The France Presidency has an ambition to upgrade the European defence to become fully operational. That is why the Strategic Compass has been promoted as the first White paper on the EU defence, becoming the major achievement of the French presidency. The document will lay out a common strategic vision for EU security and defence, and set the practical objectives in accordance with the timetable, or a roadmap.

There will be strong incentives to follow up on the commitments included, the EU diplomats ensure, as the document will be endorsed by the heads of state and government and will leave room for potential adaptations. The Strategic Compass will be a barometer for both member states’ and the bloc’s ambitions to make the EU a leading security provider for its citizens on the continent and beyond.

EU: Michel invitation to Versailles Council

Brussels 09.03.2022 Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their informal meeting of 10 and 11 March 2022:
“Russia has brought war back to Europe. This unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and undermines European security. Russia is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. We commend the people of Ukraine for their courage in defending their country. Together with Ukraine, we stand firmly on the side of freedom and democracy. Ukraine is part of our European family.

“In response to Russia’s aggression, the European Union has shown unity and strength. We have imposed on Russia the strictest sanctions ever adopted. The European Union and its Member States are providing coordinated humanitarian, political, financial and material support to Ukraine. Member States are also showing immense solidarity in hosting countless people fleeing the war.

“This conflict and its consequences will be at the heart of our informal meeting in Versailles on 10 and 11 March, which President Macron will kindly host.
Over the past years, faced with multiple crises and challenges, we engaged together on an ambitious strategic agenda. In the light of recent events, it is more urgent than ever that we take decisive steps towards building our sovereignty, reducing our dependencies and designing a new growth and investment model.

“Consequently, at our informal meeting, I would like us to focus on three particular issues, namely:

bolstering our defence capabilities;
reducing our energy dependency, in particular on Russian gas, oil and coal, and
building a more robust economic base.

Our meeting will start on 10 March at 5:30 pm with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament. Our objective on the first day is to focus on the situation in Ukraine, as well as on defence and energy.

On 11 March, our morning session and our working lunch will be devoted to our new growth and investment model in the presence of the President of the European Central Bank and the President of the Eurogroup.

“I look forward to seeing you in Versailles (pictured above)”.

Russia recognises Donetsk and Lugansk independence

Brussels 21.02.2022 Before the signature Russian President Putin informed President of France Emmanuel Macron
and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz of his intention to endorse the decree to recognise Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognise the republics’ independence without delay.

“On behalf of all of the people of the DPR, we are asking you to recognise the Donetsk People’s Republic as an independent, democratic and social state based on the rule of law,” Pushilin announced the request.

Futher, the LPR’s leader, Leonid Pasechnik, said: “With the goal of preventing mass deaths among the Republic’s civilian population, some 300,000 of whom are Russian citizens, I’m asking you to recognise the sovereignty and independence of the Lugansk People’s Republic.”

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Republics have also suggested the signature of a treaty on friendship and cooperation with Russia, including on military cooperation.

The situation in the Donbass has aggravated up on February 17. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian armed forces over the past months. On February 18, LPR and DPR Heads Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin announced civilian evacuations from the republics to Russia due to the mounting danger of hostilities. On February 19, the Donbass republics announced a general mobilisation.

Ukraine crisis: Macron diplomatic efforts

Brussels 07.02.2022 Macron attempts to mediate over Ukraine visiting Moscow today.
The U.S. standoff with Russia over Ukraine is at a critical point. At present Washington has engaged NATO to and moved forces east, while Moscow has been sending additional military on the Ukraine border. However beneath those tensions, diplomatic avenues are being intensely explored and the outlines of potential solutions.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, is meeting with Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, today in Moscow. At the same time, President Biden will be meeting with Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, in Washington. In line with the position of France as chair of the EU rotating presidency, Macron has placed himself at the center of the diplomacy in Europe, giving him an opportunity to perform more than usual leadership role.

For Macron, the risks are as great as the potential payoff, because he is facing falling popularity among his electorate.

Although the solutions to the crisis seem fiendishly elusive for now, in spite of the fact that Russian diplomacy denies the intentions of military conflict, and the situation has appeared less directly threatening toward Ukraine over the past week.

With its huge concentration of troops at the Ukrainian border, Russia is still representing a potential of armed conflict, and Kremlin grievances against NATO expansion continue to play a major role in Ukraine border crisis.

Borrell travels to Washington D.C.

Brussels 06.02.2022 The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will travel to Washington, DC, on 7-8 February, according to the announcement of the European External Action Service.

On 7 February Borrell will hold a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken to discuss pressing issues on the international agenda to reconfirm the strength of the transatlantic partnership at a crucial moment for global diplomacy.

The EU top diplomat will then co chair alongside EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson the EU-US Energy Council from the EU side and with Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, on the US side.

The EU-US Energy Council will be crucial to take forward cooperation on energy security and on the joint commitment to accelerate a just and clean energy transition to climate neutrality for citizens of the EU, the United States, and around the globe. The event comes at a pivotal moment for addressing energy supply to address the availability of natural gas and volatile prices.

On 8 February, Borrell will speak at the inaugural event of the Jean Monnet Conversations series, co-organised by the EU Delegation, the French Embassy and The Atlantic.

Further the chief of the EU diplomacy is also due to meet with Members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

EP: Macron on Defence Union

Strasbourg 19.01.2022 This semester will also lead to the adoption of the “strategic compass”, the definition of “our own security doctrine in addition to NATO”, and a real “strategy in terms of industry, defense and technological independence », the whole to find «a Europe power of the future».

In Strasbourg, Emmanuel Macron gave the traditional speech marking the launch of the rotating presidency of the European Union, which France will exercise until June 30. Before the MEPs, and less than three months before the French presidential election, the Head of State expressed a vision deeply attached to this continent, a long symbol of an “intangible peace” but now subject to “doubts”. To “rebuild our Europe”, the tenant of the Élysée has drawn up the major projects to come and established three promises: democracy, progress and peace.

EU welcomes Serbia reforms

Brusssels 14.01.2022 “France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union welcome Serbia’s January 16 national referendum on constitutional changes as a key step to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the country’s rule of law institutions. We believe that these reforms are a step forward towards Serbia’s alignment with European standards and will support Serbia’s EU accession process”, reads the Joint Statement by Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, UK, USA and the Delegation of EU on the Referendum. (Image: Belgrade,Serbia).

“We have encouraged all Serbian citizens to take part in the referendum and believe it important for eligible voters to be able to vote in elections and referenda. We note with regret that the Kosovo government has not allowed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo for the upcoming referendum in accordance with past practice. We call on the Kosovo government to allow Serbs in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in elections and electoral processes in accordance with this established practice”.

“We call upon the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue. It is important that both governments achieve progress towards a comprehensive agreement that unlocks the EU perspective and increases regional stability”.

Leyen supports Europe defence Union

Brussels 07.01.2022 “…We agree that there is a need for a genuine Defence Union” the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said, while attending event the EU event in Paris, hosted by President Macron.
“A Defence Union that prepares us for new threats in the future. For example, the next hybrid attack, no matter where it comes from. So let us agree on our priorities using our Strategic Compass, which is a kind of White Paper on defence. I am delighted that the French Presidency has committed itself to this issue. I have high expectations of the discussion on this subject at the March Summit. I believe it is high time for the Europe of defence to move up a gear”.

The top EU executive has also reminded about the strain relations with Russia: “…here are considerable tensions at our doorstep, as shown by Russia’s military pressure on Ukraine and its intimidation of Moldova. I am delighted, therefore, that a country with the political weight and experience of France is taking on the Council Presidency at such a delicate time. France’s voice resonates far and wide. And Europe is dear to France”.

The statement was made in the context of the inauguration of the rotating EU presidency of France from January to July 2022. Starting from 1 January, France will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. It will play a central role, together with its European partners, to move forward on negotiations to ensure a more sovereign Europe, a new European growth model, and a human-centred Europe.

In particular, France will be responsible for organising the meetings of the Council of the European Union, fostering cooperation between the Member States and handling the Council’s relations with the European Commission and Parliament. The French Presidency of the Council of the EU will contribute to reaching compromises and decisions that serve European citizens in several key fields such as the ecological and digital transition, protection and adaptation of our social model, better protection of borders and reaffirming the importance of European values.

In order to address these priorities, a number of events and informal meetings are being organised by the French Presidency throughout France, as well as in Brussels and Luxembourg where formal Council meetings are held.

Macron stands by his threats to non-vax

Brussels 07.01.2022 French President Emmanuel Macron said he stood by his earlier comments saying he wanted to “piss off” the five million French people who are still not vaccinated against COVID-19, adding it was his responsibility to sound the alarm given the Omicron threat.

“I stand by my earlier comments,” said Macron, while he has been hosting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her trip to Paris.

Macron added it was the authorities’ obligation to place restrictions against those who are not vaccinated, to protect the more than 90% of French citizens who are vaccinated.

France is reporting more than 200,000 daily new COVID-19 cases on average, an all-time record, due to the high contagiousness of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. According to the source SOS Medicine France there are three persons per 100 000 inhabitants per week, who are hospitalised in critical condition, the overall cases have been reduced to 33 persons per week per 100 000 inhabitants.

France presidency of EU

The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every 6 months. During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council.

Member states holding the presidency work together closely in groups of three, called ‘trios’. This system was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18-month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.

The current trio is made up of the presidencies of the France, Czechia and Sweden.

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