On 27 June 2019 in Riga, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Secretary of State for European Affairs of France, Amélie de Montchalin, who had arrived on her first visit to Latvia. During the meeting, the ministers discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and shared views on issues important to the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe, and the European Security and Defence Policy.
As regards the EU-related matters, the ministers agreed that in the wake of the European Parliament elections, it was necessary to agree as soon as possible on the top EU posts in order not to delay addressing vital matters. Of special priority are the talks on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021–2027. Edgars Rinkēvičs pointed out that the EU budget should continue supporting the convergence of living standards among the Member States, and therefore adequate funding was needed for both the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy.
The ministers concluded that Latvia and France had a common goal – to promote the economic growth, employment and increasing competitiveness of the EU Member States, as well as achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050. Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined that the EU’s new initiatives in various fields should bring benefits to all people in the Union.
Given that France is currently presiding over the Council of Europe, the meeting also addressed the 26 June vote at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly on restoring voting rights to Russia. They had been suspended in response to the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula belonging to Ukraine in February 2014.
The Latvian Foreign Minister underlined that unconditional restoration of voting rights to Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was contrary to the principles and fundamental values of the Council of Europe and seriously undermined the organisation’s reputation and capacity for action. The developments both in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Helsinki in May and currently in the Parliamentary Assembly are unacceptable. Latvia cannot ignore the illegal annexation of Crimea, the conflict in Donbass and the state of affairs in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Latvia and like-minded countries will continue consulting actively and taking action to protect the international law and fundamental values.
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