Challenges posed by Russia's imperialist ambitions have become stronger - head of EC representation in Latvia

  • 2024-04-08
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvia and the countries of the Eastern region of the European Union (EU) are facing the rise of Russia's imperialist ambitions, the challenges that have become stronger over the years, Zane Petre, Head of the European Commission (EC) Representation in Latvia, said at the opening of the international conference "EU negotiations 2024: EU as a Safe Home in Today's Geopolitical Landscape" on Monday.

She believes that the conference is an opportunity to reflect on the past twenty years, as well as to look to the future, to look at how we want to shape the future of Europe. She pointed out that 2024 will be an important year for the continent, as millions of Europeans will vote at the European Parliament elections in early June.

Petre pointed out that according to the Euorbarometer flash survey on the state of democracy and citizens' perceptions of possible threats to democracy, many people in Latvia believe that disengagement from politics and elections is one of the main threats, so we need to think about that too. Petre stressed that we must exercise our right to vote and shape our future in the years to come. She stressed that this is also a time to look back at what has been achieved.

"Looking back at the years during which the EC has been led by Ursula von der Leyen, the EC has continued to meet the desires and aspirations of European citizens. The EC has focused on the six priorities set out at the start of its mandate, while also finding bold and ambitious responses and ways to tackle the biggest challenges facing Europe today, from the global pandemic, to the worsening climate crisis and Russia's brutal military aggression in Ukraine, as well as the energy crisis. We have seen that common solutions are needed to the many challenges, the problems that the EU is facing," Petre said.

According to Petre, "democracy, the rule of law and a rule-based world order are what the EU is still fighting for".

Petre referred to what former President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said in 2003: "There is no nation in Europe that does not also have something heavy that it would prefer to leave in the past and forget. The future is in front of us. A future that we will all build together, where we will also face dangers, threats and challenges, disagreements. It is a part of life. All of us facing it together will surely make it easier to find solutions and answers." Petre stressed that these words underline the collective spirit and optimism that guides the EU's approach to tackling today's challenges and building a future based on unity and common goals.