On 17 January, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius paid a working visit to Riga. Linkevičius, the President of Latvia Andris Bērziņš and Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs discussed bilateral relations, important issues on the EU agenda and the implementation of the EU Eastern Partnership initiative.
Linkevičius stressed that Lithuania attached special importance to good bilateral relations with Latvia and aimed to further develop the versatile cooperation of the two countries, implementing the recommendations of diplomats of both countries set out in the Report on the Latvian-Lithuanian Cooperation Perspectives of 2011.
The Lithuanian Minister wished Latvia to successfully join the euro zone in 2014. According to Linkevičius, financial stability and economic growth was a common interest, which was going to receive considerable attention during Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Foreign Minister also said that the two countries had maintained regular consultations on common positions in the EU multiannual financial framework negotiations, and stressed that it was also necessary to adhere to the common position during the European Council meeting in February.
When discussing Latvia’s willingness to share the experience of Lithuania’s preparations to hold the Presidency of the EU Council, the Foreign Ministers agreed to delegate a Latvian diplomat who would work at the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs during Lithuania’s Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of this year.
When speaking about future decisions on regional energy projects, Linkevičius noted that the participation of regional partners was very important.
During the conversation, the Ministers also agreed to submit proposals to their Governments to establish negotiating groups, which would discuss economic cooperation for the implementation of Article 4 of the Lithuania-Latvia agreement on the territorial sea, continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone.
The Minister also noted that Lithuania would maintain an active position with regard to the implementation of the EU Eastern Partnership initiative and would support joint initiatives of regional partners, attempting at the rapprochement of the Eastern Partnership countries with the EU.
During his visit to Latvia, Linkevičius also met with Minister of Transport Aivis Ronis and Minister of Defence Minister Artis Pabriks. Building on the proposals that were discussed at the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Lithuania and Latvia on 10 January, the Ministers agreed to establish a working group to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues in the field of transport.
Lithuania and Latvia are enjoying a successful bilateral economic cooperation. Currently, Latvia is the third largest trading partner of Lithuania according to the volume of trade, and the second largest trading partner according to exports.