On 21 March 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the meeting of the General Affairs Council of the European Union in Brussels, at which the Member States exchanged views on the draft conclusions of the European Council of 23-24 March.

Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed the view that political, economic and diplomatic pressure against Russia should continue, sanctions adopted should be effectively imposed and their circumvention prevented.

The Minister called for a decision on the alignment of sanctions imposed on Belarus with sanctions on Russia as soon as possible, thus reducing their circumvention. Latvia will continue to provide all possible political, military, humanitarian and financial support to Ukraine and will also strongly support further action to ensure accountability of Russian officials for the crime of aggression.

The Foreign Minister pledged Latvia’s support for strengthening of the competitiveness of the EU and its Member States, developing green and digital technologies, as well as promoting meaningful discussions between sectoral experts and ministers. In order to promote competitiveness and economic growth, the EU needs to continue pursuit of an open and ambitious trade policy and expansion of the EU’s network of free trade agreements. Extra efforts are needed to promote further reduction in energy prices and consumption, without compromising the security of energy supply.

The Council held an informal discussion with Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. The Foreign Minister expressed support on behalf of Latvia for Ukraine’s integration with the EU and the launch of accession negotiations with Ukraine, once it has implemented the recommendations formulated by the European Commission.