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.
A very useful discussion this morning of EU consuls in Riga - close cooperation in response to the public health crisis and reinforcing the EU’s resilience in the face of future crises is a priority of #EU2022FR #PFUE2022 Thank you @Latvian_MFA for co-hosting ! @FR_Consulaire https://t.co/M37ssoEhEG— Aurélie Royet-Gounin (@AurelieRG) February 17, 2022
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.