RIGA - Latvia will benefit from Ukraine's accession to the European Union (EU), as it will make the single market even larger, Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) said at a news conference following a meeting with President Edgars Rinkevics on Wednesday.
In Latvia, too, there are organizations that are skeptical about Ukraine's integration into the EU. For instance, the Latvian poultry farming industry objects to "uncontrolled product imports from Ukraine". Representatives of the Latvian Poultry Association argue that before deciding on extending market liberalization measures for Ukraine, the European Commission and the European Parliament should first assess the extension's impact on EU producers and put in place appropriate compensation mechanisms.
Silina voiced hope that Latvia will not turn into a country that has forgotten that the war is still going on in Ukraine. The prime minister said she understands that everyone fights for their own industry, but that she does not have more detailed information about the problems affecting the poultry farmers. The prime minister advised the poultry farmers to turn to the agriculture minister.
"We currently have sanitary requirements in the EU single market for Ukraine-related matters. We have to realize that sooner or later, all of us will have to consider a different approach in our respective sector. Politically, we have decided that we are starting an enlargement of the EU. We will decide on Ukraine, Moldova and the candidate country Georgia. This means change in Europe and change in each of our sectors, but we must learn to see the benefits," the prime minister said.
She asked rhetorically what benefits Latvia would see if these countries fell into Russia's sphere of influence and did not respect human rights and the principles of economic governance. Silina stressed that Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia will not be admitted immediately, but that the process will take several years. This will allow all sectors to formulate their wishes, their criteria for what kind of Europe we see in the future, what the EU single market will be like.