RIGA - Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity, JV) and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, meeting in Riga on Monday, stressed the need for cooperation in strengthening the European Union's (EU) external borders and controlling external migration.
After the meeting, Karins told reporters that the talks had been important and interesting and that the two countries shared a number of priorities, including the understanding that democracies must be strong and that countries must invest in security so that people can live in freedom and economies can develop freely.
Karins also welcomed Italy's contribution to Latvia's security, as the NATO contingent in Adazi includes Italian soldiers. He believes that Italy will play an important role in the introduction of a full combat brigade in Latvia, as foreseen in the agreement signed between Latvia and Canada on Monday.
He also thanked Meloni for her leadership in support of Ukraine and appreciated the Italian Government's deep understanding that by standing up for Ukraine, common values and the belief that there must be law and order are upheld.
Karins also noted that Italy and Latvia are developing an increasingly similar understanding on migration and the EU's external borders. They share the need to find a way to control migration in Europe, to keep a tight watch on the EU's external borders so that the freedom of movement of people in Europe remains as it is today. Both countries have stressed in the European Council the need to strengthen the external dimension.
Referring to their joint visit to the Vilnius NATO Summit, the Prime Minister expressed the common hope that Sweden will become a full NATO member.
Meloni also underlined that the two heads of government had agreed on many important issues and expressed satisfaction that, although it had been 25 years since the last visit of an Italian Prime Minister to Latvia, it had been an honor for her to visit Latvia. She invited the Latvian Prime Minister to visit Rome.
Meloni stressed to the press that Ukraine needs comprehensive support and to work together to invest in Europe's security and defense. The deployment of more than 250 Italian troops at the Adazi base is a sign of Italy's willingness to support its allies at the EU's external borders.
She also stressed that both countries form the EU's external border, so migration issues need to be tackled jointly. Meloni stressed the need for solutions that promote legal immigration and stop illegal migration.
She also added that Europe needs to address a number of economic issues, including the promotion of industry and the competitiveness of the region. It is also essential to invest in defense and to switch to green energy. At the same time, while environmental sustainability is essential, it is important that it goes hand in hand with social and economic sustainability.
Meloni also welcomed the fact that bilateral foreign trade between the two countries has increased by 30 percent since 2020, and said that there is still room for growth in the industrial sector. She gave the example of an Italian metallurgical company that has invested in Latvia.
The Italian Prime Minister also mentioned the cultural cooperation between the two countries, noting that the first Italian-Latvian Cooperation Center will be opened at Riga Technical University, which will expand Italian language training opportunities in Latvia and offer Latvian language courses to the growing Italian community in Riga.
Meloni also stressed that it is important for Europe not to lose the values that have been nurtured on this continent.