Latvia and Portugal have new opportunities for economic cooperation, international dialogue and cultural relations - Levits

  • 2023-04-12
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvian President Egils Levits today, starting his state visit to Portugal, met with the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in Lisbon to discuss current European challenges and strengthening cooperation between the two countries, LETA learned from the president's office. 

The previous state visit by the President of Latvia took place 20 years ago.

During the meeting, the President of Latvia thanked Portugal for its participation in strengthening European security and patrolling the Baltic airspace. Both sides expressed their conviction that it is necessary to strengthen NATO, including its Eastern flank, discussing the forthcoming NATO leaders' meeting in Vilnius in June this year. "Latvia and Portugal are located on opposite sides of the European continent, but we share the same responsibility to strengthen NATO," said Levits.

Levits expressed his appreciation for the provision of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which is now also defending European values in its fight against Russian aggression.

Levits emphasized that Russia's war in Ukraine is the biggest violation of international law since World War II, ignoring the basic principles of the UN Charter: “The international order based on the rule of law must be maintained. Otherwise, smaller nations may be constantly threatened by their larger neighbors. Russia must be held accountable for war crimes and the fact of crimes of aggression. An ad hoc international tribunal must be created."

The President of Latvia welcomed the cooperation between Latvia and Portugal within international organizations: "Both countries are active defenders of multilateralism. We appreciate Portugal's extensive networks in the world, especially in the Global South. Latvia, for its part, can provide its experience on the issues of the European Eastern Partnership and Russia analysis".

During their meeting, the presidents of the two countries also addressed the topic of the future of the EU, noting the importance of climate policy, the digital sector, migration, and other issues in the coming years. Levits welcomed the network of European Union parliamentary presidents, established 20 years ago in Arraiolos, Portugal, as an opportunity to exchange views on topical EU issues.

EU relations with the Far East, Latin America and the African continent were discussed. On strengthening economic cooperation between Latvia and Portugal, both sides welcomed the interest of entrepreneurs in the business forum. The Minister of Environment and Regional Development, the Head of the Investment Development Agency of Latvia and about 40 company representatives from logistics, transport, IT, biomedicine, and other sectors have travelled to Portugal with the President of Latvia.

The President of Latvia emphasized that Latvia and Portugal were also linked by the European Capitals of Culture - in 2027, this title was awarded to Evora in Portugal and Liepaja in Latvia. Cooperation between the two cities will open up new opportunities in both culture and tourism, noted Levits. On Friday, in Evora, in the presence of the President of Latvia, the mayors of the two cities will sign a Memorandum of understanding on further cooperation.