RIGA - On September 6-7, the Minister of State for European Affairs of Ireland, Thomas Byrne, was visiting Latvia, LETA learned from the Latvian Foreign Ministry.
He met with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, and the Parliamentary Secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica. The officials expressed satisfaction with the close bilateral relations established between Latvia and Ireland, the two countries sharing a very similar understanding of the main issues on the European Union’s agenda and reliable cooperation in UN and other international organisations.
In a discussion on the relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom after Brexit, Rinkevics underlined that unilateral actions that could undermine mutual trust should be avoided, and possible problems should be addressed by means of mechanisms laid down in agreements.
The Ministers were unanimous that Member States should abide by the highest standards of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Rinkevics also noted that Latvia was full of resolve to meet the targets of the EU’s ambitious climate policy so as to radically reduce emissions by 2030.
Developments in Belarus were also discussed. Rinkevics pointed out that the EU must further increase pressure in response to illegal migration from Belarus and the ongoing repression against the civil society in the country.
During the meeting with Kalnina-Lukasevica, topics such as the EU’s action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the EU’s enlargement were discussed. The Parliamentary Secretary underlined that close coordination on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic at the regional and EU level remained crucial.
Kalnina-Lukasevica noted that the Conference on the Future of Europe should lay the emphasis on achievable results – policies that address the needs of Europeans, for instance, economic recovery and building more equal and resilient Europe. The conference must remain a citizen-focused bottom-up process.
In the context of EU enlargement, the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out that it was in the EU’s interests to persist with a tailor-made approach to the enlargement policy, namely, the enlargement countries must meet the set criteria, while the EU must honour its commitment when those criteria have been fulfilled.
The Latvian and Irish officials agreed that is was important to continue with the regular discussion about EU-related and international topics of current importance.
On October 9, 2021, Latvia and Ireland will mark 30 years since the establishment of their diplomatic relations.