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French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian paid official visit to Bucharest: Romania can count on France’s support for success of its first EU Council presidency

On an official visit to Bucharest, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian assured Romania of France’s support for the success of its presidency of the Council of the EU, however the agenda of his talks with Romanian officials was very vast, including the tackling of projects on the bilateral agenda, but also topics of interest on the European and international agendas.

The visit of the French official takes place 11 years on from the previous visit of a French Foreign Minister to Romania, in a year with multiple significances for the bilateral relation: the 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, preparations for the broad span Romania – France cultural and public diplomacy season that will run between December 1, 2018 and July 14, 2019, overlapping Romania’s first term at the helm of the Council of the EU, and the celebration of the Centennial of the Great Union, a historic accomplishment France has significantly contributed to.

“Romania can count on France’s support for the success of its first presidency of the Council of the European Union”, Jean-Yves Le Drian told a joint press statement with his Romanian counterpart Teodor Melescanu, on Thursday.

ForMin Melescanu brought into discussion the Romania – France Strategic Partnership, as well as its roadmap, a partnership that “has had a major contribution to deepening the bilateral relation.”

“We have discussed the joint demarche to update the roadmap, which could be signed even at the end of this year,” Melescanu said.

At the same time, he also mentioned Romania’s prospects of being accepted into the Schengen Area.

“I reiterated the request for support from France for a decision, as soon as possible, in respect to Romania’s acceptance into the Schengen Area,” Melescanu said.

In his turn, Le Drian underscored the strong connection between Romania and France, “at an important moment for the European Union, in the context in which Romania is preparing to take over for the first time the presidency of the Council of the European Union.”

“The renewal of the strategic partnership and its roadmap will be a reflection on the quality of our relation. I want to place a particular emphasis, in this framework, on the pro-European dimension of our dialogue, on a cooperation in the Defence area and on developing our economic exchanges,” the French official stated.

Jean-Yves Le Drian highlighted that France “is very present in the Romanian economy, thanks to the big companies in the auto and aeronautics sector.”

“Romania can count on France’s support for the success of its first presidency of the Council of the EU,” he gave assurances.

He also mentioned he discussed with his Romanian counterpart about the current situation in Syria, as well as the Summit that will take place in Sofia, in May, an event focused on the plans of enlarging the European Union to the Western Balkans.

 

Romania firmly condemns chemical weapon use, particularly against civilians, says Melescanu. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian: There is a red line in respect to the situation in Syria, a chemical weapon attack is intolerable

 

Romania firmly condemns the use of chemical weapons in any circumstances, but particularly when they are used against civilians, Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu said on Thursday.

Melescanu was asked during a joint press statement with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian about a possible international military response to the chemical attack in Syria.

“Romania firmly condemns the use of chemical weapons in any circumstances, but particularly when they are used against civilians. We strongly support the idea of investigating, of putting at the disposal of the special body, a body that must be impartial and independent, all the data to be able to see what the realities on field are, and, secondly, the measures that should be taken on the international society level,” Melescanu said.

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said that a chemical weapon attack is “intolerable.”

“There is a red line in respect to the situation in Syria, but this red line is also valid for other situations – it is our respect for the International Convention on Banning Chemical Weapons of 1993. (…) We are firm and, as the President of the Republic said [Emmanuel Macron] the day before yesterday, this situation isn’t tolerable. This red line was crossed and we must make decisions in the days to come,” he pointed out.

Asked if the message President Trump has recently published on Twitter concerning the situation in Syria helped France to make a decision in this respect, Le Drian said: “France is autonomous in its decisions.”

Donald Trump responded to Russia on Twitter on Wednesday, after the message of a Russian official according to which any missile launched towards Syria would be taken down, in which the US President told Moscow to get prepared for the beautiful, new and smart missiles that are about to come.

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

After over 40 persons were killed last Saturday in a supposed chemical attack in Douma, the last bastion of insurgents near the Syrian Capital of Damascus, Donald Trump condemned the atrocious attack on some innocent civilians and said he would make a decision on the steps to be made over the next 24 – 48 hours.

On Tuesday, Russia used its veto right in the UN Security Council to reject a US resolution draft providing the creation of an inquiry mechanism on the employment of chemical weapons in Syria, after last Saturday’s attacks in Douma.

 

PM Dancila, France’s Le Drian discuss Romania’s bid for Schengen, OECD membership

 

Premier Viorica Dancila received on Thursday French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, currently on a visit to Bucharest, with the two officials tackling, among others, Romania’s goals regarding its bid for Schengen and OECD membership, the government said in a release.

“During the meeting, the Prime Minister of Romania praised the privileged bilateral relationship between Romania and France, in the context of the special dynamics this year of the political dialogue at all levels, and voiced the wish to take the Romanian-French cooperation even further, including by updating the Strategic Partnership Roadmap, setting as a goal the signing of the document on the occasion of the Romanian PM’s visit to Paris at the end of this year,” the release said.

The sides also hailed the very good evolution of bilateral economic exchanges that topped 8 billion euro in 2017. The head of the Executive remarked the important size of French investment in Romania and expressed interest and openness to attracting new French capital investment and to diversifying economic cooperation.

As far as the European agenda is concerned, Premier Dancila reiterated Romania’s interest in cooperating closely with France and other European partners towards strengthening the unity and cohesion of the European Union, as well as in the light of Romania’s upcoming term at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union starting January 1, 2019.

“The Prime Minister also reiterated the special importance the government of Romania attaches to the country’s joining the Schengen Area, highlighting Romania’s substantial contribution to the EU’s internal security. During the talks, Premier Viorica Dancila also pointed to Romania’s goal of joining the OECD, emphasizing that all evaluation criteria are met and voicing hope for a positive decision being made in the shortest time possible,” the release adds.

Francophony was another subject on the agenda of the talks, with the Premier emphasizing Romania’s role as a beacon state of Francophony in the region and the interest to promote French language as an investment in the professional future of the young generation, the release concludes.

 

Iohannis – Le Drian meeting outlines the excellent level of the bilateral relationship

 

The head of French diplomacy was welcomed on Thursday by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the meeting outlining the excellent level of the bilateral relationship, against the backdrop of a year with multiple meanings in the relationship with France: the anniversary of 10 years since the signing of the Strategic Partnership Statement, the launch of the Romania-France Cultural Season, the celebration of the Centennial of the Great Union, a Great Union to which France had a significant contribution.

On the bilateral plane, President Klaus Iohannis saluted the level of excellency and positive dynamic of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and France, one of our country’s most valuable strategic partnerships. “In this sense, the Romanian President underscored the two sides’ efforts to modernise the founding documents of the Strategic Partnership, which must include elements of joint interest, position and action for Romania and France, which are ever more present on the bilateral, European, and international plane,” reads a Presidential Administration communique.

At the same time, the two high officials expressed their support so that the Romania-France Season, a cultural and public diplomacy project of great scope that will be launched at the end of this autumn by President Klaus Iohannis and President Emmanuel Macron, would be a success that would contribute to the presentation of the current, modern, and innovative image of the two states.

President Klaus Iohannis expressed Romania’s desire to cooperate as closely as possible and to coordinate with France in tackling the main dossiers of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. In this context, the two high officials mentioned, among other things, the negotiations on the future post-2020 budget of the European Union, the joint positions on the need to maintain significant allocations for the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy being emphasised. President Klaus Iohannis emphasised Romania and France’s interests and joint action in an ever-growing number of current European dossiers, the French Foreign Minister expressing his appreciation for Romania’s positions. At the same time, the Romanian President outlined the support that the European path and the profound European values enjoy at the level of Romanian society.

President Klaus Iohannis underscored the importance that Schengen Area accession has for Romania and the hope that France will support a decision in this sense, in line with the things discussed during contacts in recent years, including during President Macron’s visit in August 2017. Minister Le Drian mentioned France’s support for Romania’s Schengen Area accession, simultaneous with the completion of its ongoing reform, underscoring that on the part of France there is no blockage in what concerns Romania’s outlook to become a Schengen Area member.

Likewise, the two high-level officials exchanged opinions on a series of current international dossiers.

In this context, President Klaus Iohannis expressed Romania’s profound concern about the recent developments in Syria, firmly condemning the use of chemical weapons in the conflict, usage that is not justified by any consideration. At the same time, the Romanian President pointed out that these developments, coming despite the international condemnations and reactions to the previous use of chemical weapons in Syria, show that the relevant conclusions were unfortunately not drawn. In his turn, the French Foreign Minister presented France’s firm position according to which the use of chemical weapons in Syria represents a “red line” and an element of concern for the entire international community.

 

Speaker Dragnea: Must build special relation between Romania and France, partnership on key sectors

 

Romania must build a special relation with France, a partnership on key sectors – military, economic, social and cultural, one that will provide the guarantee of a correct and honest collaboration and cooperation, based on mutual respect, Deputies Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea stated in the context of the meeting with French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, reads a press release issued by the Deputies’ Chamber.

According to the source, Dragnea welcomed on Thursday Jean-Yves Le Drian, the meeting providing the opportunity to review the main moments the two parties are celebrating this year – the anniversary of a decade from the signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, the launching of the Romania-France Season, as well as the Centennial of the Great Union, an event to which France had a significant contribution.

“My approach, as Speaker of the Deputies Chamber and leader of the governing party, is very clear – we must build a special relation between Romania and France, a partnership on key sectors – military, economic, social and cultural, one that will provide the guarantee of a correct and honest collaboration and cooperation, based on mutual respect. I have conveyed to Mr. Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian a firm message regarding the need to revise the Strategic Partnership’s roadmap, whose content should become more concrete and applicable,” Dragnea affirmed.

During the meeting, Romania’s role “as a beacon state of Francophony in Central and Eastern Europe” was emphasized, and the need for new consistent projects intended first and foremost to successfully address the young generation and to consolidate the linguistic partnership was identified.

Special attention was granted to economic relations, the release further mentions, underscoring both parties’ commitment in pursuing the positive trend and the desire to diversify the domains of cooperation, including through the transfer of know-how from the French institutions on the matter of attracting structural funds.

Another topic of the meeting was the one of Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area, the Deputies Chamber Speaker using this opportunity to reiterate the importance our country gives this objective, especially under the current circumstances, in which Romania has proved, through a pro-active European approach, that it has the will and capacity to ensure the protection of the EU’s external borders at the highest standards, thus representing a true provider of security at European level.

In that regard, Dragnea hailed the French vision of reforming the Schegen Area, mentioning however, that Romania’s accession becoming a moving target must be avoided, the release further informs.

 

Le Drian meets DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi

 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also met DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi during his two-day visit to Bucharest.

At MEDIAFAX’s request, the DNA confirmed that Laura Codruta Kovesi and the French Foreign Minister met on Wednesday, April 11, at the headquarters of the French embassy in Bucharest, without offering any details about the topics discussed.

“A meeting took place on 11 April 2018, at the headquarters of the French embassy in Bucharest, this meeting being on the agenda of the French official. For details about the content of the meeting, please turn to the French Embassy, the host of the meeting,” reads the National Anticorruption Directorate’s response to MEDIAFAX’s request.

The meeting took place before the French official’s talks with President Klaus Iohannis, Premier Viorica Dancila and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. After his talks with House Speaker Liviu Dragnea, the French Foreign Minister refused making any statement regarding his meeting with the DNA Chief Prosecutor on Wednesday.

 

 

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