Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, held a conference call on April 17 with her Spanish and Portuguese counterparts, Juan González-Barba and Ana Paula Zacarias. This is the fourth meeting in this format, following meetings held in Paris (October 11, 2018), Lisbon (July 11, 2019) and Madrid (February 18, 2020), illustrating our three countries’ resolve to work together closely on a stronger, more sovereign Europe, with a greater degree of solidarity.
During this meeting, they discussed the European response to the Covid-19 crisis ahead of the next videoconference of EU European affairs ministers on April 22, and that of heads of state and government on April 23. France, Spain and Portugal are convinced that European solidarity is necessary to defeat the pandemic and revive our economies. Ms. de Montchalin and her counterparts therefore agreed to work closely on the European economic response, which must include an ambitious European recovery plan funded jointly and consistent with European priorities, notably the fight against climate change and digital and social issues. They also discussed continuing European coordination in the current phase and the strategies for ending the quarantine being defined in each country.
The three European affairs ministers exchanged views on the need to reshape Europe, as highlighted by this crisis, and especially the need to formulate an autonomous European health, agricultural and industrial strategy. The Conference on the Future of Europe will play an important role in bringing citizens into the conversation on building a more sovereign Europe characterized by greater solidarity.
Finally, Ms. de Montchalin and her counterparts spoke about negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom and the challenges of abiding by the rule of law during a health crisis.