On 15 November 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the working lunch of the foreign affairs ministers of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries in Brussels. The meeting focused on preparation for the Eastern Partnership summit to be held in Brussels on 15 December. The ministers exchanged views on the expected results of the summit and heard the member States outline their perspective of the future of the Eastern Partnership policy, its sustainability and specific areas of cooperation.

Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined that the upcoming summit will reaffirm the importance of the Eastern Partnership in the context the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy. The Minister indicated that during the meeting, sustainable Eastern Partnership objectives should be formulated the implementation of which would reaffirm the strategic importance of the initiative. A common understanding of the future objectives of the Eastern Partnership policy achieved at the summit should be reflected in a joint declaration of EU Member States and the Eastern Partnership countries.

The Minister noted that, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership, the EU together with partner countries are assuming definite commitments that will be demonstrated in the summit declaration. The Minister drew attention to the partner countries’ ownership of reforms, which should continue to prove in practice their commitment to work towards integration with the EU. “Partners’ reform progress and EU’s support to reforms, especially in the areas of the rule of law and good governance as well as fighting corruption should be prioritised. Our cooperation should focus on building partners’ resilience, including in the security sector, to counter the increasing hybrid and cyber threats, and disinformation,” Edgars Rinkēvičs said.

Minister Rinkēvičs underlined that three associated partners – Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – should be supported by offering them a perspective of a gradual integration into the EU’s internal market and by reinvigorating a dialogue with them in the field of security and defence.