Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, has said that he is very pleased with his discussions in Paris during the first leg of his mission to Europe.
On February 2, Minister Arcand spoke with France’s Secretary of State for Cooperation and La Francophonie, Alain Joyandet, about topics such as the historic agreement on mutual recognition of professional qualifications signed in October 2008 by Québec and France. Arcand and Joyandet will co-chair the work of a bilateral committee set up to monitor the agreement, in Paris on March 9. “Our two governments are taking all of the necessary steps to speed up the deployment of this agreement. We are also optimistic about signing a new series of mutual recognition arrangements as early as this spring,” said Arcand.
The Minister also took part in a work session with heads of mission and ambassadors to UNESCO, focusing on the challenges faced by the UN agency, in the company of Michel Audet, the Québec government’s representative within Canada’s permanent delegation to UNESCO.
Before attending the ceremony during which Premier Jean Charest was awarded the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honour, Minister Arcand met with Bernard Kouchner, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, who reiterated France’s support for negotiating an economic partnership agreement between Canada and the European Union.
February 3 was devoted to La Francophonie, with meetings with Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of La Francophonie, and Clément Duhaime, OIF Administrator. During both of these meetings, Minister Arcand stressed the importance that the Government of Québec places on La Francophonie and the implementation of the Québec City Declaration signed during last October’s Francophone Summit. The Minister and the Secretary General discussed the situation of the French language within the francophone world and on the international stage. Both of them emphasized the need to implement the decisions made during the Québec City Summit with respect to promoting the French language.
After Paris, Minister Arcand will travel with Premier Charest to Brussels, where he will meet with various political figures.