On 9 May, taking forward the tradition established last year, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an Open Doors Day. In the presence of the authors, a book was launched: “Return to Europe 1990-2015. From International Recognition to the First Presidency of the European Union” (Atgriešanās Eiropā 1990-2015. No starptautiskās atzīšanas līdz pirmajai prezidentūrai Eiropas Savienībā). Latvia’s path to membership in the EU and NATO and the first decade of Latvia as an EU member has been outlined and presented by Valdis Dombrovskis, Sandra Kalniete, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Guntis Ulmanis, Valdis Birkavs, Māris Riekstiņš, Andris Ķesteris, Ilze Juhansone, Inna Šteinbuka, Kristīne Kozlova, Solvita Harbaceviča, and Edvīns Inkēns. The book was compiled by Kristīne Kozlova.
Interactive discussions on the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU and challenges to the EU were opened by Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who emphasised that the EU is currently facing many new challenges including migration and terrorism. More than ever, it is important to think of common European values. The society cannot be merely a consumer: we must act as part of the European family with a shared responsibility for the future. She also pointed out that Latvia can provide expertise and share its experience with other EU Member States including in the field of Eastern Partnership.
In a discussion on the EU Neighbourhood, with a focus on the Eastern Partnership in particular, views were shared by Ambassador Marģers Krams, Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Bilateral Relations Directorate; Dr. Tatjana Muravska, Professor at the University of Latvia; and Juris Poikāns, Latvia’s Ambassador to Ukraine via videoconference from Kyiv. The audience had an opportunity to put their questions to Kristīne Našeniece and Kaspars Krumholcs, diplomats from the Foreign Ministry, on the emerging challenges to the EU and on Latvia’s contribution.
A musical performance was offered by the recently established Latvian Diplomatic Choir under the guidance of conductors Jānis Ozols and Katrīna Jēkabsone, bringing together singers from the Latvian Foreign Ministry and foreign embassies. The choir was established on the initiative of Ināra Eihenbauma on 28 January thinking of Latvia’s centennial. The choir is preparing for the Latvian Song and Dance Celebration in 2018.
Europe Day visitors could test the extent of their knowledge with a quiz on the European Union, its establishment, and member states. All present had a unique opportunity to see the principal agreements on Latvia’s accession to the European Union, including certified copies of international treaties and photographs. The visitors also enjoyed drawings by children from Šķibe Primary School along with their wishes for the EU.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organising Europe Day in cooperation with the Embassies of the EU Member States and the Eastern Partnership countries in Riga, the European Commission Representation and the European Parliament Information Office in Latvia.
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