Presentation of the support system for French citizens living abroad by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Gérald Darmanin and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (Paris - 30.04.20).

Today, an audio-conference was held at the Quai d’Orsay between, on the one hand, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Action and Public Accounts and the Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and on the other hand, the parliamentarians representing French citizens living outside France and the President of the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad.

This meeting was first of all an opportunity to take stock of the return of French citizens passing through abroad, for whom the government has mobilized a great deal in recent weeks: nearly 180,000 of our compatriots have now returned to France.

In accordance with the request of the President of the Republic, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Action and Public Accounts, is now committing all the necessary resources to provide our compatriots living abroad with health, social and educational support equal to the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thus, wherever the situation so requires, a specific medical facility is being deployed to monitor and advise our vulnerable compatriots in their country of residence. This medical system is based in particular on remote monitoring and teleconsultation mechanisms, as well as on the availability of medicines and oxygen and, as a last resort, a medical evacuation solution for our compatriots who may be in medical distress. 20 million are being mobilized for the first two months of this health system, which will be maintained as long as the evolution of the pandemic justifies it.

The global economic slowdown is directly affecting many of our compatriots, particularly those living in countries whose socio-medical infrastructures do not provide an adequate safety net. Requests for emergency assistance from our embassies and consulates, associations and social medical centres have already increased sharply since the beginning of the crisis. In order to meet the increased needs of the most destitute of our compatriots, who have no assistance from their State of residence, insurers or local structures, additional resources for the social aid package available to embassies and consulates will be mobilized to the tune of 50 million euros.

The establishments in the French education network abroad, operated by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), have set up educational continuity arrangements enabling our compatriots abroad to benefit from quality educational services despite the physical closure of establishments. However, the effects of the economic slowdown are likely to affect the ability of some of our compatriots to meet the cost of access to the French education network abroad.

Therefore, to help French nationals whose situation requires it, the review of scholarship applications will be extended until May 15. The consular councils responsible for examining applications will use derogatory criteria to take into account the situation of parents of pupils in 2020 to take into account in particular a possible drop in income as a result of the health crisis. Where justified, some families already receiving grants will also be able to benefit from increased support in the same way. This translates into an increased mobilisation of school grant schemes, which is estimated at this stage at 50 million euros.

The AEFE, which is the backbone of the French education network abroad and whose role in the service of our compatriots and France’s influence in the world is fundamental, will also be supported. At our request, the AEFE will provide immediate assistance to all the establishments that will need it, whatever their status (directly managed establishment, conventionné establishment and partner establishment) for the benefit of all French and foreign families. To this end, a France Trésor advance will be mobilized to meet the agency’s cash requirements in the coming months, which are currently estimated at 100 million euros. This need will be reassessed more precisely in June, in the light of all the measures to be implemented to safeguard the French education network abroad. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs will shortly submit a comprehensive plan to the President of the Republic on this subject. Parliamentarians have been invited to submit their proposals: the situation demands that we all move forward together in the service of our fellow citizens.

A total of €220 million will be mobilised to provide our compatriots living abroad with health, educational and social support and to help them cope with the health crisis. This is in addition to the €20 million or so already mobilised to facilitate the return of our nationals who have been temporarily travelling abroad since mid-March.

Last updated on: 4 May 2020