On Friday, January 15, the Minister for the Interior Sandis Ģirģens and the State Secretary Dimitrijs Trofimovs met in a video meeting with with the Ambassador of France to Latvia, Aurélie Royet-Gounin. The meeting was also attended by Emmanuel Carnesecca, First Counselor of the French Embassy, Deputy Ambassador.
"Latvia attaches great importance to relations with France, as it is our important partner within the European Union and NATO. Latvia appreciates France's contribution to strengthening the security of the Baltic region,” S.Ģirģens emphasized at the beginning of the meeting.
At the meeting there was discussed the experience of both countries in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence, as well as the candidature of Jean-Philippe Lecouffe for the post of the Deputy Executive Director of Europol.
Discussing the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries, the Minister for the Interior emphasized the need to strengthen strategic communication between the responsible services and the public in order to make the vaccination process as smooth as possible. The Minister also noted that the spread of fake news increases public distrust to control measures of COVID-19, including vaccination.
Much attention during the conversation was paid to domestic violence, which is a serious problem in today's society. S. Ģirģens assured the Latvian law enforcement authorities are paying great attention to the identification and prevention of such crimes.
As regards the fight against domestic violence, during the Covid-19 pandemic in Latvia (in the period from November 1, 2020 to January 6, 2021), it can be concluded that the number of police calls to family conflicts has decreased slightly at the end of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. And the number of police decisions on the separation made in these calls has also declined.
Overall, however, the number of cases of domestic violence in Europe has increased during a pandemic. In many places, police forces have adapted to the situation and changed the way they help victims of family conflicts.
Although the exchange of information between EU law enforcement authorities on domestic violence is ongoing, Latvia could support the creation of a single document on the subject of conjugal violence ("European Vademecum") proposed by the French party, where best practices for all EU Member States police forces could be available.
In the following, officials of the Ministry of the Interior pleased to note the success of French candidate Mr. Jean-Philippe Lecouffe in the selection procedure for the Deputy Executive Director of Europol, where he took the first place in the competition of the strong candidates.
In the case of the approval of Mr. Lecouffe, Latvia will count on providing analytical and operational support for cross-border investigations initiated by Europol.
At the end of the meeting, the Minister for the Interior asserted Latvia's interest and wish to cooperate with France in the field of home affairs not only at the bilateral level, but also at the EU level, noting the need for EU member states to develop a common approach and standards for internal security.
The Ministry of the Interior
Public Relations Specialist