On 19 November 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the meeting of the General Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) in Brussels. Ministers held an exchange of views on the strengthening of the rule of law and heard a presentation of the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, who offered an overall outlook on the situation with the rule of law in the EU.
Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed Latvia’s support for the idea contained in the European Commission Communication concerning information by international organisations contributed to the annual Rule of Law Review Cycle reports. Those include the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the aim of making the best use of the existing expertise to assess the situation with the rule of law in the EU. The Minister called for facilitating synergy between the emerging and existing mechanisms of monitoring the rule of law thereby avoiding the overlapping of mechanisms and an excessive administrative burden in the EU.
Under the agenda point of EU enlargement and the stabilisation and association process, the Ministers discussed the way forward with launching accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The Latvian Foreign Minister expressed support for starting EU accession negotiations with those countries.
The meetings of the General Affairs Council are held on a monthly basis and, in the second half of 2019, they are chaired by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
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