Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation with João Fins do Lago, Consul General of Portugal in Boston

May 19th, 2020 in News

On Tuesday, May 14, we had the pleasure of speaking with the Consul General of Portugal in Boston João Pedro de Vasconcelos Fins do Lago for what was the eighth installment in a series of interviews with European Consuls General on the theme of “Solidarity at the Time of COVID-19.” Our interest in this series of conversations has been to explore the concept of solidarity through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic as it has unfolded across Europe. Sofia Perez, Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston University, conducted the interview.

Consul General Fins do Lago began by talking about the way the work of the Portuguese Consulate has been transformed by coronavirus and the solidaristic response by all of the European Consulates in Boston, in particular, in the repatriation of European citizens. He dismissed media concerns over lack of solidarity in Europe in response to the pandemic, noting that the temporary reintroduction of border controls across Europe was by consensus and in accordance with EU regulations. He cited as well numerous examples of cooperation from joint procurement to burden sharing. He then talked about his own country’s relative success in managing the pandemic, noting in particular Portugal’s preparedness thanks to its regained financial stability, its commitment to healthcare as a right, and the opportunity to observe the crisis unfolding in other countries before it reached Portugal. He was optimistic about Europe’s future and said he looks forward to the reopening of the Schengen borders.