On 9 February in Brussels, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, met with Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), and Monique Pariat, Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO). The meetings addressed topics high on the European Union agenda: development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, and the future of the external financial instruments as part of the EU’s post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica emphasised Latvia’s interest in engaging actively in the implementation of the EU’s development cooperation policy. In a conversation with Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of DEVCO, the Parliamentary Secretary said that all member states should be involved in the EU’s cooperation for development by making use of their comparative advantages: in Latvia’s case, it is the experience of reform and transition, which is highly valued in the Eastern Partnership countries and Central Asia.
Another topic discussed at the meeting was the possibility for Latvia’s private sector to get involved in the implementation of EU-funded development cooperation projects. Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica pointed out that Latvian businesses are interested in contributing to providing practical development assistance by their solutions and expertise. The officials also highlighted opportunities for the small countries and the private sector to participate, including in the implementation of the EU’s new External Investment Plan.
The inclusion and use of digital solutions has been set as one of priorities in the EU’s development cooperation policy and is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of assistance and helping to build administrative capacity in developing countries. These goals can be achieved through the involvement of the private sector and the use of IT products and innovations created in the EU Member States.
During the meeting with Monique Pariat, Director-General of ECHO, as humanitarian crises were discussed, the Parliamentary Secretary emphasised that the EU should continue providing humanitarian assistance to the conflict-affected eastern regions of Ukraine and prevent this crisis from being forgotten. Next, the parties shared views on the most effective mechanisms for providing EU humanitarian assistance and the engagement of the private sector in those efforts, including by innovations and digital solutions.
Director-General Pariat invited Latvia to join the initiative “Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies”.