RIGA - Work on the preparation of the seventh package of European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia and Belarus must begin, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said at a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
LETA was informed by the Foreign Ministry that at the meeting of the EU General Affairs Council the bloc member states discussed the regulation on transparency of political advertising, preparations for the European Council meeting on June 23 and 24, and further ministerial discussions on the proposals made at the European Future Conference.
At the meeting, Rinkevics expressed support for the agenda of the European Council, at the same time pointing out the need to agree on granting the status of an EU candidate country to Ukraine during the European Council meeting. He emphasized that Latvia supports the European perspective of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as calls for the granting of EU candidate status to Moldova as well.
According to the Foreign Minister, the forthcoming European Council meeting must send a clear signal of support to Ukraine. Rinkevics emphasized that it was equally important at the moment to provide all types of support to Ukraine - financial, humanitarian, material and military - without delay, and that it should be based on the needs identified by Ukraine. Also, according to the Minister, the successful implementation of the existing EU sanctions must be ensured.
The meeting held a further discussion on the proposals prepared at the end of the conference on the future of Europe. It was based on an evaluation of proposals by the General Secretariat of the Council to understand which proposals are already being implemented in existing EU legislative initiatives, which proposals can be implemented in the near future without changing EU treaties, and which require changes to the EU treaties.
The Latvian Foreign Minister expressed the view that in the context of the European Future Conference, priority should be given to implementing proposals that address the challenges identified by citizens without amending EU treaties, namely security and European resilience, economic growth, energy independence and raising prosperity of residents.
He noted that Latvia calls for the strengthening of European values, the solution of economic problems, including the reduction of inequality, the fight against misinformation, the fight against violence against women, maintaining security and climate responsibility. The Minister emphasized that these and a number of other concrete proposals, including the simplified recognition of university diplomas between EU countries and closer cooperation in the field of healthcare, should be the focus of the next phase of work.
"We expect that the evaluation of the recommendations resulting from the conference, including the national recommendations, will continue at the national level. We believe that it is important to be able to achieve concrete results, which can be demonstrated to residents no later than May 9, 2023 - 12 months after the conclusion of the conference, "said Rinkevics.
The Minister drew attention to the fact that starting discussions on changes to the EU treaties will divert attention and resources from the development of topical policies and reduce the cohesion of EU institutions.