On 18 May 2022, in Riga, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, met with the delegation of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine (FEU). Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica reaffirmed solidarity with Ukraine and underlined that Latvia would continue providing every possible assistance to Ukraine.
The CEO and Director General of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, Ruslan Illichov, thanked Latvia for its support to Ukraine and called on Latvia to get involved in Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction. Illichov also underlined that it was very much appreciated that Latvia ranked among the biggest supporters of Ukraine both in terms of absolute financial figures and percentage from its GDP.
The Parliamentary Secretary confirmed that not only the government but also Latvia’s society as a whole, including business people and civil society, had mobilised in support of Ukraine. Given the fact that Ukrainian businesses and manufacturers are operating under wartime conditions, the meeting addressed the ways to advance economic cooperation between Latvia and Ukraine, new areas of cooperation, and new solutions for export promotion.
The Parliamentary Secretary invited the Ukrainian side to define their priorities for economic cooperation and support for the restructuring of business activity in line with current needs, and building eventual cooperation with Latvia. We have set out to provide further support as part of development cooperation policy, and we are also ready to get involved in the implementation of projects for rebuilding Ukraine, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica said. She underlined the importance of building close cooperation that would be in line with best practice and give confidence of the most effective support measures being selected that meet Ukraine’s needs.
The Ukrainian delegation presented an outline of plans for the restructuring of processing sectors to manufacture products with a higher value added, and for refocusing on the European market; the Latvian partners were invited to share their experience. Interest was also indicated in building cooperation with Latvia in the field of manufacturing and production, including a partial or temporary relocation of separate processes outside Ukraine. Possibilities were also discussed for decisions to be taken at the EU level that would enable an increase in the exports of Ukrainian goods to the EU.
The Ambassador of Ukraine to Latvia, Olexandr Mischenko, the Director General of the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK), Līga Meņģelsone, and the Federation’s Deputy Director General, Advisor on International and EU Affairs, Inese Stepiņa, also took part in the discussion.
This is the FEU’s first visit abroad since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February this year.
The Federation of Employers of Ukraine (FEU) was established in 2002 with the aim of representing the interests of Ukrainian businesses in their home country and internationally. The FEU unites more than 140 sectoral and regional organizations of employers representing the most important sectors of Ukraine’s economy, such as machine building, metallurgy, automotive, aerospace and defence industries, agriculture, chemical industry, IT, media industry, energy, medical and microbiological industry, and other fields.