So, what about the border?

  • 2008-01-14
  • By Mike Collier

HANDS ACROSS THE WATER: Daudze (left) received a polite reminder that ratification is nine years overdue

VILNIUS -- Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas and Speaker of the Saeima of theRepublic of Latvia Gundars Daudze met Jan. 11 to discuss closer cooperation, including a resolution of a long-running squabble about the maritime border between the two states.

It was agreed that both countriesshould exchange cultural and awareness-raising editions, Gediminas' office stated. Both the PrimeMinister and the Speaker of the Saeima believed that people would cometo feel real benefits of the Schengen enlargement as soon as the borderfacilities are upgraded, which will enable easier movement between thecountries.

Kirkilas also briefed the former Ventspils doctor on the preparatory work regardingthe construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania, which he maintains is on schedule. Negotiations are reportedly complete  regarding the establishment of a national investor company,the Seimas has deliberated on necessary amendments to the law and an environmental impact study is due in the Spring.

But Kirkilas also madea point of prompting his Latvian guest on the need to sort out the border issue. 

Lithuaniaratified an agreement on the issue back in 1999, but Latvia has pointedly failed to do likewise ever since it was suggested that significant oil deposits might be located in the border area. The lack of resolution on the issue is regarded as an embarrassment in Brussels, indicating as it does that two EU member states cannot agree their own borders, even after their much-vaunted joining of the Schengen border-free zone on Dec 21 2007.

Daudze assured Kirkilas that the issue iscurrently being discussed by the Latvian government. The Prime Minister alsoreminded the guest that it would become possible to discuss a procedurefor the exploitation of resources deposited in the sea and itscontinental shelf only after the ratification of the agreement.