RIGA - The situation with the possible threats posed by Russia towards Ukraine and the hybrid attack on the eastern border of the European Union (EU) by Belarus has once again highlighted the importance of physical security, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said at a government meeting on Tuesday.
After listening to the annual report by Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) on foreign policy developments, the Prime Minister praised that the relevant authorities in Latvia had shown excellent coordination with one another on the Belarusian border, and noted that Latvia has made economic progress in recent years, including in regards to investment. According to preliminary data, about EUR 350 million more in investments were attracted last year than a year earlier.
In his address to his colleagues at the Cabinet of Ministers, Rinkevics noted that 2022 could be a year of both opportunities and challenges. Foreign countries have appreciated Latvia's improvements in the financial and banking sector, but the state must help banks set up correspondent accounts with US banks. The Foreign Minister called on his colleagues to go on more frequent foreign working trips to strengthen the country's foreign relations, despite the spread of Covid-19.
The Minister also stated that in the context of security issues, it would be important to attract investment, which should be strengthened by continuing the fight against corruption and protecting investors in Latvia, as well as making the investment process as transparent as possible.
During the discussion on the Foreign Minister's report, Minister of Justice Janis Bordans (New Conservative Party) pointed out that in his opinion, the issue of banks and various types of venture capital that the state must be able to sell externally is very topical. He explained that the law on start-up companies in Latvia is very well assessed internationally. He also said that in recent years there have been positive changes in regards to the climate, as well as in the justice sector, which too has been praised internationally.
The Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva (For Development) emphasized that last year there was a very successful cooperation with the Latvian diplomatic staff in Brussels, where Latvia had an important task to convince EU partners about the country's activities on the border with Belarus. The Minister also revealed that changes to the Schengen Borders Code have also been important.
Among this year's challenges, Golubeva mentioned respecting Latvia's international obligations while protecting the country's borders.
Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Arturs Toms Pless (For Development), meanwhile, said that the previous year had been marked by very good strategic cooperation. Last year, Latvia "brought different news" at every opportunity abroad, which could make Latvia unique and interesting for foreign investors.
The Minister pointed out that there was a great deal of interest in the digitization of languages, where Latvia has world-class technologies and which are important for Europe, because one of the basic elements of the region is to speak different languages but at the same time understanding them.