On 30 April 2020, the Latvian Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and French Minister of State for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, talked by phone about the fight against the coronavirus ongoing in both countries, and stressed the importance of coordinated action by the European Union, and that the EU’s economic response should be ambitious in nature.
Minister Rinkēvičs expressed his gratitude to France for the support it has been giving to Latvian nationals in the course of repatriation. Both ministers underlined the need for close cooperation and coordination at an EU level, especially when it came to easing restrictions with respect to controls at borders and in renewing the movement of travellers and passengers across those borders.
The Ministers were in agreement on the need to agree as soon as possible on an ambitious Multiannual Financial Framework and Recovery Fund, thereby ensuring strong and united support of the renewal of economies in Member States. The Latvian Foreign Minister stressed the significance of the cohesion policy, the common agricultural policy, and the large scale EU crossborder project Rail Baltica in the context of economic renewal.
The Ministers observed that restrictions related to stemming the spread of COVID-19 should be short-term and should not be used in a manner contrary to the fundamental rights and the rule of law.
Minister Rinkēvičs noted that there is a great potential for Latvia and France to cooperate in the ICT sector. Both Ministers expressed support for common ICT initiatives, for example, in using artificial intelligence to find technological solutions in the field of language and to work out means to do COVID-19 tracing using mobile devices, and introduce the solutions found. The Ministers emphasised that any use of mobile devices in this regard should be in compliance with EU requirements on protection of privacy and personal data, and should be compatible for all EU Member States.