Foreign Minister outlines Latvia's priorities for 2016

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Latvia's foreign policy priorities in 2016 will include achieving a lasting, significant presence of NATO troops as well as avoiding a multi-speed Europe, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said at the joint meeting of the parliamentary committees on foreign affairs and European affairs on Friday, reported BNS. 

Rinkevics said that this year was notable for Latvia's first-ever Presidency of the Council of the EU. He also said that Latvia succeeded in keeping on the EU agenda matters related to the Eastern Partnership.

Next year we must not forget that Russia's aggression remains a serious security risk factor, and that's why Latvia wants to achieve a lasting and significant presence of NATO troops in the Baltic region, the Latvian foreign minister said.

Much debate about the future of Europe is expected next year, including about migration, threats to the Schengen area and a possible occurrence of a two- or even three-speed Europe.

“Our security interests make us side with those who are for strong Europe,” the Latvian foreign minister said.

He said Latvia would keep supporting the Eastern Partnership countries in its foreign policy.

Latvia' s position regarding Russia's aggression in Ukraine will remain unchanged, and it will not forget about Moldova and Georgia, and will also keep working to expand the EU-Belarus dialogue. Closer EU-US cooperation also is among the Latvian foreign policy priorities for 2016.

The Latvian foreign minister is to present his annual report about the foreign policy and EU matters to the parliament in January next year. 

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