Latvian government signals support for EU's 'Brexit' deal

The government has approved Latvia's national position on the agreement between the European Union (EU) and former EU member state the United Kingdom on future relations, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said in a remote press conference December 28, LTV reports. 

The national position says Latvia supports the signing and provisional application of the agreements from 1 January 2021 until all procedures necessary for the agreements to enter into force have been completed.

"This [Brexit] is rather a loss for the European Union, as well as Britain. But it is important that this agreement is reached. And it is a good foundation on which to build future relationships,” said Kariņš.

The national position will also have to be approved by the Saeima's European Affairs Committee, which plans to address the matter in an express session also on Monday, December 28.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said that there are currently no indications that any EU member state will fail to support the agreement on future EU-UK relations, the result of more than four years of discussions since the UK population voted to become the first state to quit the European Union in 2016.

Britons will lose their automatic right to entry and other rights related to residency, work, benefits and education with the UK becoming a so-called 'third country' from January 1, 2021.

The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the decisions saying:

"The deal between the EU and the UK envisages their future relationship based on three agreements. The broadest of those, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, provides for unprecedented trade relations in terms of access to goods and services market, alongside trade conditions that go well beyond the EU’s current free trade agreements.

"In addition, the agreement also envisages cooperation in transport, energy, fisheries and natural resources, coordination of social security, the Union programmes, judicial cooperation of law enforcement authorities in criminal matters and the protection of fundamental rights and personal data, as well as data sharing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing. This cooperation will be underpinned by crosscutting rules concerning fair competition and the agreement administration mechanism to ensure its accurate interpretation and application.

"An agreement on security procedures for the exchange and protection of classified information envisages sharing of classified information and guarantees for the transfer and protection of such information.

"An agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy sets out a framework for cooperation between the EU and the UK in that sector, including trade in, and transfer of various technologies and materials, as well as exchange of information and experience, and research and development initiatives.

"Nevertheless, the accord achieved is not a substitute for EU membership; therefore, the EU-UK cooperation will not be as it was before, with restrictions provided for a free movement of persons between the EU and the UK and the requirement of customs clearance. At the same time, the said agreements will ensure a solid basis for building close and all-round relations in the future."  

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