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Official speeches and statements - April 3, 2020

Published on April 3, 2020

1. COVID-19 - Statement by Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden on the principles of the rule of law in times of COVID-19 (April 2, 2020)

In this unprecedented situation, it is legitimate that Member States adopt extraordinary measures to protect their citizens and overcome the crisis. We are however deeply concerned about the risk of violations of the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights arising from the adoption of certain emergency measures.

Emergency measures should be limited to what is strictly necessary, should be proportionate and temporary in nature, subject to regular scrutiny, and respect the aforementioned principles and international law obligations. They should not restrict the freedom of expression or the freedom of the press.

We need to jointly overcome this crisis and to jointly uphold our European principles and values on this path. We therefore support the European Commission initiative to monitor the emergency measures and their application to ensure the fundamental values of the Union are upheld, and invite the General Affairs Council to take up the matter when appropriate.

2. COVID-19 - Declaration by NATO foreign ministers (April 2, 2020)

1. We, the ministers of foreign affairs of NATO, meet today in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic which is affecting all allies and partners, imposing a huge cost in lives lost, as well as a sudden and severe shock to our economies. We express our deepest sympathies with all the victims of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and with all those affected by its consequences. We pay tribute to the healthcare workers, as well as all the others who are on the front line in our battle against this disease. These include the men and women in uniform who continue to work daily for our collective security. And we thank our citizens who understand that, working together, we will defeat this challenge more quickly and save lives.

2. NATO is doing its part. Allies are supporting each other - including with medical professionals, hospital beds, vital medical equipment, and best practices and ideas on how to fight this deadly disease. We are airlifting critical medical supplies from across the globe, providing medical personnel, essential materials, and vital equipment from military and civilian sources, and harnessing our medical, scientific, and technological knowledge and resources to help deliver innovative responses. Allies are also working together to ensure public access to transparent, timely and accurate information, which is critical to overcoming this pandemic and to combating disinformation. Because we need a coordinated and comprehensive approach, NATO is working closely with other international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the European Union.

3. Even as we do the absolute maximum to contain and then overcome this challenge, NATO remains active, focused and ready to perform its core tasks: collective defense, crisis management and cooperative security. Our ability to conduct our operations and assure deterrence and defense against all the threats we face is unimpaired. And we have today taken further decisions to enhance NATO’s role in facing current and future security challenges.

4. We welcome North Macedonia as NATO’s 30th ally. As we face this unprecedented challenge, our 30 nations stand together in solidarity and transatlantic unity.

[Source of English text: UK Government website]

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