“Latvia has always supported the signing of the Association Agreements between the EU and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine as soon as possible. This support is attested to by the Saeima being one of the first national parliaments to ratify the Association Agreements,” said Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which was responsible for pushing the legislation through so quickly.
“We know very well that these countries need European support. Therefore, as friends and partners of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, we cannot procrastinate over ratifying the Association Agreements, and our words must be backed up with deeds. Similarly, it was important for Latvia to receive support from other European countries at the time when it commenced its long path to Euro-integration,” Kalniņš said.
The Association Agreements between the EU and Moldova, and the EU and Georgia were signed on 27 June 2014, while Ukraine signed some chapters of the Association Agreement on 21 March 2014, and the remaining chapters were signed on 27 June 2014.
The failure of then-President Viktor Yanukovich to sign an Association Agreement at the Vilnius Summit in November 2013 played a key role in plunging his country into the armed conflict which is still raging in the east of the country.
“Latvia previously promised Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova that it would be among the first member states of the European Union to ratify the association agreements with these countries. Therefore, I am gratified that today the Saeima unanimously supported the ratification of all three association agreements, thus fulfilling our promise and expressing our country’s political support for these Eastern Partnership countries,” said Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, after the ratification vote.
Latvia has identified the Eastern Partnership as one of its top priorities for its presidency of the Council of the EU during the first half of 2015 with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics repeatedly speaking on a need for “a more tailored, individual approach” in relations between the EU and its eastern neighbours.