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RIGA - On September 20-21, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics was on a working visit in Germany, LETA learned from the Latvian Foreign Ministry.
During his stay, he met with the German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, and took part in a discussion on the contribution from the Baltic States to Europe’s future, organized by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).
In a meeting with the German Foreign Minister, Rinkevics spoke about bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Germany, the relationship within the European Union (EU), and the transatlantic link.
"Latvia and Germany enjoy friendly relations rooted in their close political dialogue and practical cooperation both bilaterally and in the framework of the European Union and NATO. We highly value cooperation the active cooperation with Germany at all levels," said Rinkevics.
The Latvian Foreign Minister suggested that bilateral visits by the German Chancellor and the Foreign Minister be organized to Latvia. The Minister also thanked Germany for its contribution to the strengthening of security of the Baltic States.
"Seeking to enhance energy supply to the region, we are working on the synchronization of the Baltic States’ electricity grid with the European continental network. EU financing will be of a crucial importance for a successful implementation of the project," noted the Minister.
In a discussion on Nord Stream II, Rinkevics said that the project did not comply with the principles of the common European energy policy. In view of this, Latvia does not support the implementation of the Nord Stream II project. Instead, work should continue on the EU’s single energy market, since interconnections and regional cooperation are vital for energy security.
The Ministers exchanged views on the next EU multiannual budget. Rinkevics voiced an opinion that there were several factors, namely, the EU negotiations on Brexit and the elections to the European Parliament due in 2019, which were currently making it more difficult to launch talks on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027.
"Latvia wishes to see a balanced framework for the European Union’s budget over the next period, which would take into account both the traditional EU policies, for instance, the Cohesion Policy and direct payments, and the new policies devised to strengthen Europe’s defense capabilities," the Minister said.
The parties also discussed transatlantic relationship. "There are no other alternative to transatlantic relations. The European Union and the United States of America need one another, and the transatlantic link is not only about trade, it is also about shared values. Regardless of different opinions, the European Union and the United States should seek common grounds, since we share a space of common values. The concerted efforts of the EU and the US in putting the sanctions policy in place have been successful. Due to the current coordinated position of the EU and the US, it has been possible to deter Russia from taking further aggressive action in Ukraine," Rinkevics underlined.
During their meeting, the Ministers looked at EU enlargement issues in relation to the Western Balkans countries, Georgia, and Moldova.