L. Linkevičius: Europe must strengthen medical industry
On 3 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius took part in the second video conference of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Ministers to discuss international aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on consular coordination and repatriation, strengthening international cooperation and assistance.
When discussing consular assistance and repatriation of EU citizens from third countries, the Minister L. Linkevičius stressed the need to coordinate actions with the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), which relied on an extensive network of EU diplomatic presence worldwide.
“EU citizens’ right to consular protection outside the EU is the EU’s fundamental value, even when a member state has no embassy or consulate in the country concerned. Thus, it is essential that EU member states show solidarity by helping each other’s citizens in distant countries. We hope that our joint efforts will help to ensure EU citizens travelling overseas can return home safely," said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania communicates daily to the EEAS information about the number of Lithuanian citizens looking to come home from third countries.
“We see that the transport sector is of vital importance today. I am confident that the ratification of the so-called Mobility Package, which clearly discriminates against our carriers, would be regarded as unjustified and unreasonable,” said the Foreign Minister.
L. Linkevičius also urged the EU to take active action to tackle disinformation. The EU must promptly, transparently and systematically communicate the steps taken to fight the pandemic to its citizens.
According to the Foreign Minister, the EU has to critically assess the situation in which the vitally important production of medical devices and certain medicinal drugs is concentrated in China or India. “The EU must promote the development of its industry and research. Negotiations on the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework with particular emphasis on cohesion, social care and medicine must be accelerated," said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
The Foreign Minister also informed that Lithuanian companies were refocusing their activities and resources to be relevant to the pandemic. Businesses and science are actively engaged in the battle against COVID-19, offering various innovative solutions.
In Lithuania, about 140 Lithuanian companies mobilized to address shortages for medical supplies, reagents, personal protective equipment, and disinfectants necessary to contain the pandemic.