On 15 April, the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs travelled to Finland, where he met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his counterpart, Erkki Tuomioja, among other high-ranking Finnish officials, and discussed Latvia’s upcoming EU presidency and ways to increase Baltic-Nordic cooperation, reports the Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Rinkēvičs discussed the importance of bilateral cooperation, especially as Latvia prepares to take on the rotating Presidency of the EU Council in January 2015. Rinkēvičs called for strengthening that cooperation at the practical level.
The officials discussed the drafting of the new UN development policy framework beyond 2015. They agreed to continued close cooperation in the field of customs and border control, running joint development support projects in Central Asia.
As they discussed the situation in Afghanistan in 2014, the ministers of both countries emphasized that a peaceful process of elections and the transfer of power is essential for the further development of the country. Rinkēvičs also drew attention to the impact of regional cooperation, including with Central Asian countries, on achieving long term solutions.
Rinkēvičs also discussed developments in Ukraine and the EU’s further action in relations with Russia with Finnish officials. He stressed that the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy should be tailored to each partner’s efforts and that it behoves the organization to prepare a clear roadmap for states that are ready and willing to move closer to the EU.
During its upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Latvia will prioritize regional security. Rinkēvičs indicated that Latvia plans to engage in the new Border Management Programme in Central Asia, in which Finland has also expressed an interest.