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Tuesday 19.06.2018 | Name days: Nils, Viktors
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Foreign Minister promises a dynamic year; priorities include – Eurozone membership

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Edgars Rinkevics

2013 will have many challenges and will be generally dynamic for Latvia’s foreign policy, said Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics on Thursday, January 24.

“Latvia’s foreign policy will be turned towards securing our country’s basic interests in security and economy. I see it as active participation in EU and NATO, closer integration in financial, transport and energy areas. The agenda will still contain the question about the long-term EU budget and the presidency in the EU. We will also work on further strengthening Latvia’s political and economic competitiveness. We also hope to join OECD,” – said the Foreign Minister.

He noted that the government coordinated its actions with the parliament and non-governmental organizations in achieving favourable conditions for Latvia in the 2014-2020 in matters of cohesion and direct payments. “We will continue to work intensively to achieve the best possible outcome for Latvia,” – promised Rinkevics.

Last year, the minister saw the Saeima’s State Security concept as clear proof that care about state security is one of the government’s top priorities. The minister mentioned the decision of NATO to secure the Baltic skies, as well as the organization’s vision to seek stability in Afghanistan.

The minister thought last year’s relations between Russia and Latvia were controversial: economic cooperation indexes continued to grow on one side, while the other expressed sharp criticism about Latvia in international organizations, including the use of absurd accusations in regard to the alleged reinstitution of Nazism in Latvia. “Destructive elements were brought in by Russia’s position in regard to the state language referendum and its results. The Foreign Ministry stands against such attempts of Russia to discredit Latvia,” – said the minister. At the same time he hopes that Latvian-Russian relations can be more turned towards elements of constructive cooperation in 2013.

The minister promised that Latvia will continue to support the Eastern Partnership and countries of Central Asia. “Latvia will do everything to encourage the EU to sign associate agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine,” – said Rinkevics. The minister also promised that Latvia will continue to form relationships with other economically and politically important partners.

A large part of the minister’s speech was devoted to Latvia’s intention to join Eurozone and the work that will allow the country to effectively Chair the EU Council. He also mentioned several arguments as to why Latvia should adopt Euro at this time.

“No matter what our political beliefs and disputes may be, no matter how much we argue in out own house, we need to keep in mind that together and on our own, we represent and strive for Latvia’s interests,” – he reminded in the end of his speech.

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