On 13 November, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in the meeting of the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
In a discussion on the EU-Africa relationship and preparations ahead of the 5th African Union-EU Summit to be held end of November in Côte d'Ivoire, Edgars Rinkēvičs stressed the importance of all-embracing cooperation in the long term. We believe, the Foreign Minister noted, that future cooperation between the EU and Africa should be rooted in comprehensive long-term solutions and the principles of responsible partnership, which includes active involvement of African countries, among other things, in the promotion and financing of peace and security. At the same time, Edgars Rinkēvičs called on the EU and its Member States to continue targeted investment into the education of African youth, especially girls and women, so as to ensure conditions for a sustainable future and address the root causes of migration. The Foreign Minister also expressed conviction that the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the EU and the African Union will facilitate political and operation cooperation of both parties for the prevention of conflicts and causes thereof.
Contributing to the Foreign Affairs Council’s discussion on strategic communications, Edgars Rinkēvičs highlighted the need to strengthen the EU’s strategic communication capabilities and develop the existing instruments at the EU’s disposal. The Foreign Minister called for providing the current operative strategic communications groups with sustainable and sufficient budgets, and he urged the Member States to follow the example of Latvia and send their national strategic communications experts from to work in those groups. Edgars Rinkēvičs also expressed support for the reinforcement of independent media and journalism both at the national level and in the Eastern Partnership region.
The meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council take place on a monthly basis and are chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.
On 13 November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and the Minister of Defence, Raimonds Bergmanis, also took part in an official ceremony for the signing of the notification on the establishment of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in security and defence (PESCO), thereby pledging Latvia’s participation in this cooperation framework and becoming one of its founding members.
PESCO is expected to take effect following a legally binding decision by the Council in December this year.
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