Baltic Prime Ministers meet up in Rīga

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš played host to Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia, and Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister of Lithuania on 23 August.

The officials held a meeting, and attended various celebration events dedicated to the Baltic Way.

Speaking to reporters after a working lunch at the Culture Palace Ziemeļblāzma in northern Rīga, Kariņš stressed that the Baltic states must contunue to work together "not only in hard times, but in good times, too."

"We will continue to work together, hand in hand today as we did 30 years ago," said Kariņš.

 

Ratas offered: "It was an historic and you might say unique event," before moving on to contemporary matters saying issues such as transport, Rail Baltic, and "even more active cooperation with our strategic partners in NATO and the European Union" had been on the agenda during Friday'' talks.

The Baltic states completely share their Trans-Atlantic orientation, he stressed. 

Skvernelis echoed the sentiments saying: "History shows that when we stand united we are even better able to pursue our interests," and praised the rapid progress the Baltic economies have made in catching up with Western Europe.

He also provided a reminder that freedom only came after the Baltics had "paid a high price" under totalitarian regimes.

"We must not allow this situation to repeat itself in the future," he pledged.

The three PMs also mused on whether the Berlin Wall would have fallen without the precursor of the Baltic Way, with Kariņš concluding that in both cases change came around as a result of ordinary individuals and "people power".

 

The only hint of discord came when a journalist asked about Latvia's attitude to buying electricity from the controversial Astravets nuclear power plant in Belarus. Located close to Vilnius, just across the border, it is strongly opposed by Lithuania, though some recent press reports have suggested Latvia may be interested in buying electricity.

Kariņš did not come out clearly for or against the idea, instead saying Latvia was interested in offering consumers "the lowest possible prices as a result of the greatest competition." 

Skvernelis said the matter had cropped up and he had received assurances from Kariņš that no decisions had yet been taken.

On their attitude to a protest taking place in Honk Kong using the Baltic Way as a model, the three PMs said they had empathy with other peoples wishing to strengthen their freedom and express their democratic will, while saying it was important that violence should be avoided.

 

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