First official mission to Europe: Minister Christine St-Pierre lays the foundation for a renewed alliance with France

QUÉBEC CITY, June 26, 2014 - The Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Christine St-Pierre, has returned delighted and satisfied from her mission to France, which enabled her to establish direct contacts with the government of the French Republic and to hold discussions with many elected officials as well as stakeholders from the institutional, business, environmental and cultural communities.

During her meeting with her counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, Minister Christine St-Pierre presented the directions of the new government, including the revival of the Plan Nord and the Maritime Strategy, two major projects for the Québec economy that are of interest to France. In addition to expressing their common desire to expand economic cooperation even farther, the two Ministers agreed to set up a working group tasked with drafting a new comprehensive partnership in the fields of science, research and higher education.

“This new partnership is proof of our shared desire to strengthen the direct, special ties that unite Québec and France. In this regard, both our governments recognize the importance of student mobility as a lever for the development of knowledge and our economies. I am delighted that the two main economic projects of our government were well received by all the stakeholders we met during the mission,” said Minister Christine St-Pierre.

The Minister warmly thanked Minister Laurent Fabius for the exceptional loan of the original 1763 Treaty of Paris, which will be on exhibit this fall at the Musée de la civilisation de Québec. This is the first time that this document, which is so fundamental to the history shared by Québec and France, will travel outside France. The Treaty was, moreover, shown to Minister Christine St-Pierre during a visit to the Archives diplomatiques of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international.

Among the topics of the discussions with Minister Laurent Fabius were the visit to Québec by President Hollande this fall, the future Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, the participation by Québec in the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), and the Francophonie. The two Ministers agreed, among other things, that Québec could contribute to the success of COP21 by highlighting its energy policies, including the carbon market. Minister Christine St-Pierre also confirmed to her counterpart Québec’s support for the candidature of Michaëlle Jean to succeed Abdou Diouf as Secretary-General of the Francophonie.

The Minister also held discussion with the Minister of Women’s Rights, Cities, Youth and Sports, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, with whom she co-chairs the Board of Directors of the Office-franco-québécois pour la jeunesse. A meeting was also held the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Tourism Promotion and French Overseas, Fleur Pellerin, with whom she co-chaired the Monitoring Committee of the Québec-France Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications. Since December 31, 2013, over 1,100 applicants from France have obtained their licences to practice a profession, a function or a trade in Québec thanks to this agreement.

Francophonie

During her first official meeting with Francophonie Secretary-General, Abdou Diouf, Minister Christine St-Pierre discussed the preparations for the 15th Summit of the Francophonie, which will be held in Senegal under the theme “Women and young people in the Francophonie: vectors for peace, actors for development.” She called on the heads of government to fully discuss gender equality at the Dakar Summit. She also reiterated the importance that the Government of Québec attaches to the drafting of a new economic strategy for the Francophonie ahead of the Dakar Summit. They also discussed the challenges and issues of the digital age and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of UNESCO Cultural Expressions.

“Our government pays special attention to gender equality. We hope that the declaration that will be adopted by the heads of government in Dakar will truly advance the cause of women. It is also imperative that the Francophonie adopt an economic strategy that will enable the emergence of conditions conducive to economic development and that will open up new opportunities for young people in the Francophonie,” said the Minister.

Lastly, the Minister took advantage of her trip to Paris to participate in the celebrations of the Fête nationale du Québec organized by the Québec Government Office in Paris.

The full program of Minister Christine St-Pierre’s mission to Paris can be found in the Appendix.

 

Minister’s Program
Mission to Paris, June 21 to 26, 2014

Time

Minister’s Program

Saturday, June 21, 2014

PM

Participation in the Félix Leclerc tribute event at the Bibliothèque nationale de France

Evening

Speech and attendance at “Nuit Boréale” during the Fête de la Musique, accompanied by Ambassador Lawrence Cannon

Sunday, June 22, 2014

AM

Working meeting on the mission program

PM

Chœurs éternels concert by the orchestra of the Paris Opera at Boiscommun with Québec soprano Aline Kutan

Monday, June 23, 2014

AM

Meeting with the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Tourism Promotion and French Overseas, Fleur Pellerin

AM

Co-chairing the Monitoring Committee of the Québec-France Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications with Secretary of State Fleur Pellerin

AM

Speech during the Lever des couleurs ceremony at Place du Québec in the 6e arrondissement on the occasion of the Fête nationale du Québec in the presence of elected municipal officials

PM

Media interview with Femmes & Pouvoir

PM

Luncheon on the French political and economic situation with French analysts academics

PM

Tour of the Archives diplomatiques of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international and viewing of the Treaty of Paris

PM

Meeting with the Minister of Women’s Rights, Cities, Youth and Sports, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AM

Working session with the Internal Economy Committee of the Québec Government Office in Paris and meeting with the staff

PM

Speech at the diplomatic reception to celebrate the Fête nationale du Québec

PM

Interview on L’Invité (TV5 Monde)

PM

Speech at the folk festival organized by the Québec Government Office for the Fête nationale du Québec

PM

Interview on Espace Francophonie (France 3)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AM

Interview with France-Québec magazine

AM

Meeting with the Secretary-General of the Francophonie, Abdou Diouf

PM

Meeting with members of the Groupe d’amitié France-Québec of the French National Assembly

PM

Meeting with members of the Groupe d’amitié France-Québec of the French senate

PM

Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius

Evening

Participation in the awarding of the Léopold Senghor Order to three former Québec sherpas (Michel Lucier, Ronald Poupart and Claude Roquet) by Francophonie Secetary-General Abdou Diouf

Thursday, June 26, 2014

AM

Interview with the daily Le Devoir.

AM

Interview with the weekly Jeune Afrique.

-30-

Source :
Florent Tanlet
Press Attachée
Office of the Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie
418 649-2319

Information :
Philippe Hébert
Communications Counsellor
Direction des communications et affaires publiques
Ministère des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur
418 649-2400, ext. 56009

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