ST. PETERSBURG – On April 6, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis concluded his visit to Russia where he participated in the Baltic Sea Forum, held a meeting with Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and other officials. This was the first bilateral meeting of Dombrovskis and the Head of Government of Russia.
In the conversation with Medvedev, the Head of Government of Latvia particularly emphasized the issues of economic cooperation. “In view of the fact that the trade turnover with Russia is rapidly increasing, it is important for Latvian entrepreneurs that Russia does not impose any impediments on import, export and investments. I received a confirmation from the Prime Minister of Russia that such barriers will not be imposed,” said Dombrovskis.
The Heads of Government of the two countries discussed the issues relating to the Latvia-Russia border crossing, and Dombrovskis stressed the need to increase the border crossing capacity and reduce the queues at the border crossing points. PMs of Latvia and Russia discussed the opportunity to improve operation of Terehova and Grebnev border crossing points, as well as to build simplified border crossing points in other places with the objective to redirect some traffic.
Dombrovskis emphasized the need in the near future to ensure the implementation of the Agreement on Simplified Border Crossing Procedures for Residents of Border Regions signed by the Presidents of the two countries. The officials were of the same opinion that it is necessary to continue to develop the East –West Transport Corridor in the area of both road and rail transport.
At the initiative of Medvedev, the officials also discussed the progress in the Latvian gas market liberalization, and Dombrovskis stressed that Latvia has a set of commitments imposed by directives of the European Union, and the obligation to implement the so-called “Third Energy Package”. However, Latvia is also aware of the commitments undertaken by conclusion of the Latvijas Gaze (LG) privatization contract. Dombrovskis pointed out that Latvia will take a balanced approach to fulfilling these commitments and will move constructively and prudently towards opening of the gas market, based on consumer interests and national energy security considerations.
Dombrovskis and Medvedev also agreed to activate the work of the Latvia-Russia Intergovernmental Commission. PMs of Latvia and Russia came to an agreement that the intergovernmental dialogue should be maintained on a regular basis, and it should be expanded, focusing on addressing practical issues.
The Prime Ministers of the two countries appreciated the bilateral agreements on investment protection and avoidance of double taxation, which came into force this year, and agreed to continue to develop contractual basis with a view to strengthen economic cooperation. At the conclusion of the conversation, Dombrovskis extended an invitation Medvedev to visit Latvia with a view to further discuss opportunities to expand and improve cooperation between the countries.
In his address, Dombrovskis called on the participants of the Baltic Sea Forum to use the green potential to increase competitiveness, focusing on the protection of natural resources and marine ecosystems, environmentally responsible consumption and development of environmentally friendly technologies. At the same time, PM stressed that the green economy should be competitive to be successful; however, it should not be based on government subsidies or other permanent support mechanisms.
The Baltic Sea Forum was attended by Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, Andrus Ansip, Prime Minister of Estonia, Jyrki Katainen, Prime Minister of Finland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, Algirdas Butkevičius, Prime Minister of Lithuania, Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, Janusz Piechociński, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and Minister of Economy, as well as other officials and experts.