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Official speeches and statements - January 29, 2021

Publié le January 29, 2021

1. Indo-Pacific - Signature of a partnership agreement between France and the Pacific Community - Joint communiqué by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Pacific Community (Paris, 28/01/2021)

Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Stuart Minchin, Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC), today signed a key multi-year cooperation partnership agreement between France and SPC covering the period 2021-2024. It reflects the resolve of the French President, as announced during the high-level dialogue on climate at SPC Headquarters in Noumea in 2018, to strengthen cooperation with the Pacific’s largest intergovernmental technical and scientific organisation.

Through this partnership, France, an Indo-Pacific nation, reaffirms its commitment to continue working alongside Pacific countries and stakeholders to meet the region’s challenges, in keeping with its Indo-Pacific strategy.

As part of the partnership, SPC and France will strengthen their efforts with communities in four priority areas, i.e. public health, climate change, the ocean, and the sustainable natural resource management.

The multi-donor “KIWA Initiative" for climate change adaptation and biodiversity protection in the Pacific led by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency -AFD), with a budget of some EUR 35M - including EUR 13M from France and EUR14M from the European Union, - is a recent example of the excellent relations that exist between SPC and France. A funding agreement confirming SPC as one of the Initiative’s major implementing agencies was signed on 18 November 2020. In addition, in late 2020, France expanded its support for SPC’s Pacific public health network through a new AFD grant.

The three French Pacific territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis & Futuna) are also full SPC members./.

2. United States of America - Conversation between M. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, and Ms Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery (Paris, 28/01/2021)

Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, spoke on the telephone today to Janet Yellen, United States Secretary of the Treasury, following the bilateral call French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden had on Sunday.

During the conversation, Bruno Le Maire warmly congratulated Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on being appointed and taking office. They both confirmed their desire to step up links between their administrations and noted many similar priorities, in particular on the climate, international trade and cooperation within multilateral forums.

Bruno Le Maire and Janet Yellen spoke about the health situation and its impact on economic players and households. They agreed on the need to coordinate national responses to revive the global economy and to work on this in particular within the framework of the G7 and G20. Bruno Le Maire and Janet Yellen also agreed on the need to find multilateral solutions to the challenges facing the global economy, including with regard to fairly and equitably taxing multinational firms. The Minister welcomed the Treasury Secretary’s commitment to active participation by American teams in OECD discussions on taxation, with a view to an international agreement in the first half of the year.

Finally, they mentioned the need to reduce trade tensions, which have a negative impact on growth, especially between the United States and Europe. The Minister insisted in particular on the very penalizing nature of the sanctions on French wine growers. The Minister will visit Washington DC as soon as the health conditions allow it./.

3. United Kingdom - Brexit/fisheries agreement - Reply by Mme Annick Girardin, Minister of Marine Affairs, to a question in the Senate (Paris, 20/01/2021)

The fisheries agreement is a reasonable compromise. That’s how it must be described.

Admittedly, implementing it may pose a few problems, as you emphasized. But let’s remember where we started from: the UK wanted to recover 100% of the quotas we fished in its waters, and we’ve returned only 25%; the UK wanted to exclude us from all its zones and access, and we’ve maintained all that access to the three zones, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the 6-12 mile zone, and the Jersey and Guernsey zone, which affects Hauts-de-France less.

As regards the EEZ, fishing permits have been given to all fishermen - the 1,400 European vessels and the 1,100 British vessels. I’ve just heard this morning from the European commissioner that provisional licences will be extended by three weeks.

As for the 6-12 mile zone, we sent the Commission a list of vessels that could demonstrate their proven historical landings: 172 have been validated; there are still 23 direct replacement vessels - i.e. boats which have fished in the place of those with proven landings - to be validated.

Yes, some difficulties remain. This morning I took stock with the commissioner, Michel Barnier and all European fishermen. Things are not progressing quickly enough. To combat rumours on the quayside, we must be transparent and meet the professionals regularly. I’ll be seeing them tomorrow morning at the national fisheries committee, to give them the same information, and next Monday I’ll be attending the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, where we’ll discuss quotas - an issue just as important for our fishermen.

You can rest assured that we’re on the quays alongside the fishermen. As the Prime Minister requested, we’ve also prepared a support plan./.