Feminist diplomacy – International Women’s Day (Mar. 8, 2023)
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna will mark this International Women’s Day – March 8, 2023 – by strongly reaffirming France’s commitment to defending the rights of women and girls around the world through feminist diplomacy that has made gender equality central to our foreign policy since 2019. Amid unacceptable attacks on women’s rights, particularly in Afghanistan and Iran, the Minister will express her determination to continue supporting all those who champion women’s rights. She applauds their enormous courage and strongly condemns the many intolerable acts of violence committed against girls and women.
On this occasion, the Minister will unveil France’s international strategy on sexual and reproductive rights and health for 2023-2027. France will continue to implement the commitments it made at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, which we co-chaired with Mexico under the auspices of UN Women, in particular the €400 million it is allocating in support of sexual and reproductive rights and health for the period of 2021-2025. The Minister will express her support for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) through a financial contribution of €90 million for the purchase and distribution of contraceptives and products supporting sexual and reproductive health. She will award France’s Simon Veil Prize to the Citizen’s Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, a Salvadoran collective that champions the right to abortion, in recognition of its decisive efforts in support of sexual and reproductive rights and health.
Ms. Colonna will reiterate France’s support for feminist civil society organizations worldwide through the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations, which we founded in 2020; its €120 million budget will be made permanent. Every year, France also welcomes women who champion rights and freedom through the Marianne Initiative founded by President Macron in 2021, which enables some 15 human rights defenders to live in France for a year to develop their projects. The Minister will open an exhibit focused on the women who participated in the Marianne Initiative in 2022; it will be displayed on the gates of the Quai d’Orsay from March 8 to June 8.
Lastly, the Minister will host a round table bringing together women who are engaged in freedom work and will launch the Tremplin (“Springboard”) program aimed at improving women’s access to senior management positions at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in line with the goals she set for professional equality within the French diplomatic corps.
Moldova – Visit by Laurence Boone (Mar. 7-8, 2023)
Laurence Boone, Minister of State for Europe, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will be visiting Moldova on March 7 and 8. This visit reflects France’s commitment to strengthening the French-Moldovan bilateral relationship and Moldova’s rapprochement with the European Union.
Following the visit to Moldova by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna in January and her recent discussions with Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu in Brussels on February 20, this visit will help us strengthen our bilateral relationship and will underscore Europe’s strong support for Moldova’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, she will be joined for part of her visit by several of her European counterparts: Anna Lührman from Germany, Karoline Edtstadler from Austria, Velislava Petrova from Bulgaria, Andreja Metelko-Zgombić from Croatia, Judit Varga from Hungary, Dominique Hasler from Lichtenstein, Jovita Neliupšiené from Lithuania, and Jessika Roswall from Sweden. They will jointly express their support for Moldova, which is dealing with the consequences of the war in Ukraine.
During this joint visit, the Minister of State will be received by Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Dorin Recean, President of the Moldovan Parliament Igor Grosu and Justice Minister Veronica Mihailov-Moraru. She will also have discussions with civil society representatives and NGOs about women’s rights and roles in connection with Moldova’s rapprochement with the EU.
Ms. Boone will also meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nicu Popescu ahead of the second European Political Community (EPC) summit, to be held Moldova on June 1, to discuss France’s support for Moldova as it organizes this major diplomatic event.
The Nigerian Electoral Commission announced the election results this past weekend. Do you have any comment?
France congratulates the Nigerian people on the presidential and legislative elections held on February 25. It also congratulates Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate who was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission. We will be delighted to work with him to strengthen relations between France and Nigeria.