RIGA - The countries of Latin American and the Caribbean (CELAC) have an important role to play in ensuring that the European Union (EU) diversifies its supply chains and is not dependent on a single supplier, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said at the EU-CELAC summit.
Karins attended the EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels this week. During the summit, the Prime Minister highlighted Russia's responsibility for the global consequences of the brutal war in Ukraine, including high inflation and increased risks to food supplies.
The Latvian PM's press office told LETA that Karins particularly condemned Russia's withdrawal from the agreement on Ukrainian grain supplies and the use of food as a weapon - Russia is seemingly offering to participate in the solution, while its actions are clearly a direct threat to global food supplies.
"Russia is waging a colonialist war in Ukraine - Russia, the former colonizer, is trying to reclaim its former colony, Ukraine. Latin American and Caribbean countries understand this, which is why there is visible support for the UN-initiated condemnations of Russia's war," said Karins, who said that the EU-CELAC summit had succeeded in explaining to a number of countries across the Atlantic the importance of Ukraine's fierce resistance in preserving statehood.
The Prime Minister said that the EU-CELAC Summit had discussed ways to expand trade and economic cooperation between the two regions. According to Karins, Latvia is interested in the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur bloc countries - this would open new markets and development opportunities for export-oriented Latvian companies. The Prime Minister stressed that the current trade negotiations were overloaded with other policy initiatives, which made it difficult to conclude trade agreements smoothly. Latvia supports a more ambitious trade policy in order to move faster towards the conclusion of agreements. Karins also said that CELAC countries have an important role to play in ensuring that the EU diversifies its supply chains and is not dependent on a single supplier.
The EU-CELAC summit aims to expand cooperation between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in the context of global crises. Russia's war in Ukraine, climate change and the recent Covid-19 pandemic are forcing a reassessment of the importance of EU-CELAC relations in both their political and economic dimensions, deepening existing cooperation and seeking new opportunities, noted Karins.
The EU-CELAC dialogue has been ongoing since 2010. This year, after a gap of eight years, the third EU-CELAC Summit took place. The last summit took place in 2015, during Latvia's EU Presidency.