Latvia plans to work constructively with Russia during the Presidency of the EU


Latvia will undertake a new agreement between the EU and Russia

We should talk more about the differences with our Eastern neighbour, said the Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevich.

Lately a certain tension is felt in the relations with Russia. Import ban on Latvian sprats, recent statements of your counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, echo of the Ukrainian events? Or I am mistaken, and all is well in the relations between the two countries?

Our relations are painted in a variety of colours – as white as red or black, green and blue, etc.

As for the so-called sprat-war, I don’t see politics here; it is related with some specific problems.

Recently, Russia has decided to ban pork imports from the European Union, and this is not related with politics either – EU has own problems in this regard.

But talking about the issues that happened in relation with Lithuania last year – yes, it was politics there, and the EU has rather harshly opposed such actions of Russia. It developed into a formal complaint to the WTO, and might lead after the proceedings even to fines.

What we would like to achieve is to settle the dialogue between the EU and Russia on issues where we have different approaches. I spoke about this with Sergej Lavrov in November and recently with Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. For example, the dialogue under the programme of Eastern Partnership was not conducted in the way it should have been done.

We will be particularly constructive for EU-Russian vector during the Latvian Presidency of the EU. By the way, the development of a new agreement between the EU and Russia is planned, and we hope that Latvia as the EU president will also work on it. It is also planned to work constructively with Russia on our other priority under the Presidency of Latvia to the EU – in Central Asia and Afghanistan, here I see good opportunities for dialogue.

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