RIGA - Latvia supports the start of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia on joining the European Union (EU), Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) emphasized in the annual foreign policy report.
He also points out that the processes of change in the EU and the debate on the future of the EU in response to the new challenges and the search for a successful governance model do not change Latvia's position that the EU must remain a strong, values-based union of nations, which hold high standards of democracy.
Rinkevics emphasizes that it is in Latvia's interests to maintain the existing institutional balance in order to ensure the EU's unique identity as a union of nation states. According to the Minister, the efficiency of decision-making in the EU can be improved in order for the EU to defend its interests and increase its influence in the world.
"Latvia is convinced that the effectiveness and sustainability of the EU's foreign policy is largely ensured by maintaining the principle of unanimity in foreign policy decision-making and the use of qualified majority voting in the EU's foreign relations and security is not applicable," the Minister said.
In his view, it will continue to be important to ensure that each Member State has the capacity to influence decisions, as this plays a key role in the implementation and interpretation of common decisions at national level. According to Rinkevics, a united and coordinated position of the member states is essential for the implementation of the EU's common foreign policy, setting ambitious goals, especially at a time when the EU is trying to strengthen its global role and understanding of its values in the world.
The Foreign Minister notes that in EU policy, Latvia has focused on climate policy and digital transformation. Work is also continuing on the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, and coordinated decisions regarding healthcare are therefore important, not only within countries but also in the context of transnational relations.
According to the Minister, it is important that the EU has started to strengthen its resilience and reduce its dependence on negative external factors and challenges. Rinkevics pointed out that strengthening the rule of law and values remains relevant.