On 30 September, during the official visit to Latvia by Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, in a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, signed a document recognising the progress achieved by the two countries in their cooperation and setting priority goals for 2020–2025. An Action Plan on cooperation between Latvia and France in education and science for 2020–2025 was also signed.
Seeking to strengthen the bilateral strategic cooperation between Latvia and France, the two countries intend to enhance their joint activity in all areas over the next two years. The plan envisages work on a more sustainable and united European Union as well as a continued close cooperation for the benefit of European and transatlantic security.
Upon signing the Latvia–France Action Plan for cooperation in education and science for 2020–2025, the parties undertook to promote a much broader and deeper cooperation in educational systems, educational contents and teaching materials, as well as advancing direct contacts between scientific and research institutions in Latvia and France.
I am truly happy that scientists and researchers from both countries will have the opportunity to implement joint projects on the development of practical applications of quantum technologies, said Edgars Rinkēvičs. This is the future not only for Latvia but also for Europe as a whole, he underlined.
The Ministers also discussed topics of current importance in security policy, including developments in Belarus, the Eastern Partnership policy issues and relations with Russia.
In a discussion on Belarus, the Ministers exchanged views on the need for the European Union to express a strong position on Lukashenko’s illegitimacy and to be united with regard to sanctions on Belarus. The European Union must make every effort to see to it that Belarus sets its political prisoners free, and to offer support to Belarusian civil society to the greatest extent possible.
The Foreign Ministers discussed in detail the strategic questions concerning Russia and continuing the dialogue on principles incumbent.
In a discussion on EU-related matters, the Minister underlined that Latvia and France are allies and like-minded in the areas such as the rule of law, protection of democracy, the climate and digital autonomy. Latvia and France want a stronger, more united EU, with its increasing global role. From the perspective of Latvia and France, the issues of climate and digitalisation retain a vital role in the process of the EU’s economic recovery. Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed conviction that the main directions for development are the strengthening of the single market and digital transformation. He underlined that Latvia would like to cooperate in joint quantum technology projects, which would significantly contribute to technological development in the EU.
The Ministers came to conclusion that the EU, by setting an example in climate action, should also encourage the transition of other countries and regions to climate neutrality. Minister Rinkēvičs noted that Latvia fully supports setting of more ambitious climate goals for 2030 and that both countries have similar investment lines in the area of climate – including energy efficiency, the energy sector, sustainable transport, circular economies.
Edgars Rinkēvičs thanked France for active cooperation in the measures for strengthening collective defence in the Baltic region. Jean-Yves Le Drian noted that France will continue contributing to the strengthening of security of Latvia and the Baltic States. Latvia and France will continue close cooperation for the benefit of European and transatlantic security as well as promotion of international peace and security. The Ministers underlined that both countries currently are and will remain partners in international operations.
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