Meet the Ambassador: The Ambassadors’ Club Interviews Diplomats in Isolation: The Ambassador of the European Union

Your Excellency the Ambassador of the European Union,

1. What is the role of an ambassador and his team at a time of war against the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our job firstly is what we are here to do – to maintain and promote the EU’s diplomatic relations with Israel. In addition, we have been helping Europeans, and Israelis, get home through assisting the EU Member States in their consular activities and steering local coordination as commercial flight options have been decreasing. We have also been very actively engaged with the Israeli innovation sectors to support global efforts on the vaccine and treatment fronts. Finally, our role is to ensure global solidarity in this time of crisis – we do this through our contacts with the authorities but also with the Israeli public. This week we provided food vouchers to a number of very vulnerable communities in Israel ( incl. Holocaust survivors, asylum seekers, elderly) who will be feeling the isolation and economic crisis the most.

 

2. How does your embassy operate in spite of the confinement?

Most staff are working from home and we will slowly return to greater presence in the office premises in line with measures taken by the health authorities. The EU has already a teleworking system in place, which has made for a smooth transfer for staff to install in their homes. We continue to hold all regular meetings via videoconference, including with EU Headquarters and Israeli counterparts. Still, staff miss being in each other’s company in the office and we look forward to full return when the situation allows.

 

3. What are  today, in face of the corona pandemic ,the E.U diplomatic goals in general and in Israel especially. Do Europe and Israel cooperate in this global war against a common enemy and how?

The pandemic is affecting all countries in the world so we can succeed in overcoming the crisis only if we act in a coordinated manner not only within Europe but globally. We have increased our support to the WHO.  The EU has harnessed its scientific and technological research capacities to fight COVID-19 and we have seen an unprecedented engagement by research teams all over the word to collaborate across borders – Israelis researchers are among the most active.  We need to encourage this joining of forces, sharing of information, and coordinating strategies at international level as much as we can. Unprecedented events call for unprecedented action and that fast, massive and coordinated global action is necessary on the health and economic fronts to save lives and avoid a further economic crisis.

 

4. Do you have a message to the Israeli people on this occasion?

This has been a  difficult time but the more we stand together, the quicker we will all pull through this crisis together. How we react to the crisis will determine what the world looks like after the virus threat passes. Behind seemingly closed borders, cooperation and collaboration within the EU, and with Israel continues unabated, even enhanced. The most tangible tribute we can give to thousands of victims, as well as to those that have been working tirelessly on the frontlines, is our determination to join forces, strengthen international solidarity and for this, the EU is here. We will visit each other again soon.

 

Emanuele Giaufret
Ambassador of the European Union
to the State of Israel

 

CV of H.E. Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret