Official speeches and statements - May 17, 2018
1. Iran - Reply by Mr. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question to the government in the National Assembly (Paris - May 16, 2018)
The United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear agreement has, first of all, consequences on regional stability and on the integrity of the non-proliferation regime, but also, potentially, major consequences for a number of French and European businesses. The decision is a mistake, and it’s clear we don’t want French and European businesses to pay the price for it. French interests in the automotive, aerospace and agrifood sectors are real.
Yesterday, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Bruno Le Maire and I brought together these businesses, which we’re in constant dialogue with, in order to manage the situation. What’s particularly in question is the American sanctions’ extraterritorial dimension, which is especially intolerable because they implement a decision which we don’t share and which we regret.
France’s action with Europe will focus on several points: firstly, ensuring that we modernize the blocking statute, which dates back to 1996 and is a European tool. Secondly, also working on funding channels that are watertight, and thirdly, perhaps also establishing institutions like the OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control], which, in the United States, gives licences for products that are entirely European.
We too must create genuine economic sovereignty. This is a moment of truth for the European Union, let’s be very clear, and this evening it will be on the agenda at the dinner of heads of state and government. I think we must prove Kundera wrong when he said: "what is a European? It’s someone who is nostalgic for Europe." We have faith in Europe, and today it’s time for Europe to clearly assert its sovereignty.