On 16 April, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, held a phone call with the Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Winston Peters. They addressed the state of play in combatting the coronavirus pandemic and reviewed the partnership between the EU and New Zealand.
High Representative Borrell and Foreign Minister Peters agreed that the coronavirus outbreak requires global solidarity, cooperation and strong multilateralism. They discussed ways to slow the spread of the pandemic and to mitigate its short- and long-term impact on the global economy and societies. High Representative Borrell presented the comprehensive set of actions taken by the EU to address the pandemic. With the support of New Zealand authorities’, the EU has coordinated the repatriation of more than 10,000 EU citizens through more than 25 repatriation flights. They discussed in particular the need to support vulnerable populations and less developed countries in responding to the outbreak. High Representative Borrell and Foreign Minister Peters both confirmed their strong commitment to the Pacific, which will require continued support during and after the crisis.
The High Representative and the Foreign Minister also discussed the strong EU-New Zealand partnership. Having in mind the importance of open global trade for economic recovery and growth, in particular in light of the coronavirus pandemic, they confirmed the common objective to work towards a swift conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on an EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.