On March 21, 2023, in Brussels, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevičs participated in the meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) of the European Union (EU), during which member states discussed the draft conclusions of the European Council of March 23 and 24.
E. Rinkēvičs expressed the position that the political, economic and diplomatic pressure against Russia should be continued, the adopted sanctions should be effectively implemented and their circumvention should be prevented.
The minister called for a decision to be made as soon as possible on the reconciliation of the sanctions imposed on Belarus with the sanctions on Russia, thus reducing their circumvention. Latvia will continue to provide all possible political, military, humanitarian and financial support to Ukraine, as well as strongly support further action to ensure that Russian officials are held accountable for the crime of aggression.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed Latvia’s support for strengthening the competitiveness of the EU and its member states, developing green and digital technologies, as well as promoting full-fledged discussions between industry experts and ministers. In order to promote competitiveness and economic growth, the EU must continue to implement an open and ambitious trade policy, as well as expand the network of EU free trade agreements. It is necessary to continue what has been started in order to promote the further reduction of energy resource prices and consumption, while not jeopardizing the security of energy supply.
At the meeting, an informal discussion took place with the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for Europe and European integration Olga Stefanishina (Olha Stefanishyna). The Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed Latvia’s support for Ukraine’s European integration and the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine as soon as it has implemented the recommendations formulated by the European Commission.