EU consular staff compare notes on working during a pandemic

On 17 February 2022, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a meeting of consular officers serving at the diplomatic missions of the European Union Member States accredited to Latvia. The meeting was arranged by the Embassy of France, the country currently holding the presidency of the Council of the EU. 

During the event the participants heard a presentation on the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU – which is already into its seventh week – and an exchange of views was also held on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on resolving of consular matters.

The meeting was opened by the Ambassador of France to Latvia, Aurélie Royet-Gounin, and the Head of the Consular and Diplomatic Facilities Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jurijs Pogrebņaks. 

In her opening remarks, the French Ambassador underlined that several priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU were directly related to consular work: reform of the Schengen Area; migration and asylum issues; strengthening of the EU’s borders; and the human dimension and focus on European values and the protection of the rule of law.

For his part Pogrebņaks informed the consular officers about the consular workload during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in 2020, when the Consular Department received 49 375 calls to its emergency phone number (in 2021 – about 16 000) and 15 120 e-mail messages (in 2021– about 12 000). In addition, 43 repatriation flights by the airBaltic airlines were organised in 2020. 

 

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