On 3 July 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, who had arrived in Latvia as part of a delegation accompanying the Italian President Sergio Mattarella on his state visit. The officials discussed issues concerning migration and the European Union’s enlargement, security and finance.
Enzo Moavero Milanesi emphasised that migration was currently an acute problem for Italy, and the country wanted to address the matter on the EU scale. The Minister said that he expected a common approach and solidarity on the part of the EU in resolving the problem. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that Latvia, standing in solidarity with other EU Member States, was taking part in the EU asylum seekers’ relocation programme, FRONTEX operations, the work of the European Asylum Support Office, and EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean.
Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined the need to increase funding for the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, as well as conclude talks on the EU’s budget in a timely manner so that the new EU funds planning period could begin. The present proposal for the EU Multiannual Financial Framework does not satisfy Latvia, as funding has not been distributed equitably. Enzo Moavero Milanesi noted that Italy had a similar position on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for the next period.
The Latvian Foreign Minister thanked Italy for its contribution to the strengthening of Latvia’s security, especially participation in the NATO battlegroup, and stressed the need for that to be continued. Edgars Rinkēvičs pointed out that the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels should move ahead with the implementation of decisions taken in Wales and Brussels, as well as NATO’s policy vis à vis Russia. Minister Moavero-Milanesi also expressed hope that the NATO Summit would yield results in terms of addressing security challenges.
Both Ministers welcomed the agreement achieved between Greece and Macedonia over Macedonia’s name change, which opens opportunities for the latter to join the EU and NATO. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that the EU should have an open-door policy towards the aspirations of the Balkans countries to join the Union. In addition, ways should be found how to strengthen cooperation with those countries.
In their conversation, the Ministers also shared views on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU and expressed hope that a rapid agreement would be reached on outstanding Brexit issues, so that the process could be taken forward.
The President of Italy is in Latvia on a state visit from 2 to 4 July. The visit includes meetings with the President of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, and Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.
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