Rinkēvičs: Riga Declaration a work in progress

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said Thursday that work continued on drafting a joint declaration to emerge from the Riga Eastern Partnership summit taking place May 21-22.

He struck a calming note as the hundreds of journalists who have descended on the Latvian capital began to whisper and gossip among themselves about various leaks, conspiracy theories and doom-laden scenarios about several countries refusing to sign up to a joint declaration.

Rinkēvičs told delegates at the 2nd Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference: “There have already been many speculations about what are going to be the deliverables from the Riga summit.We are not over yet with the drafting exercise. It's going to end only tonight so any speculations you are already hearing from anonymous sources I would, a little bit, discard.

"There is currently no issue that would create a situation that could be described as an intrigue. We are working with all partner nations. We try to accommodate the ambitions and interests of all.

"But I can say already it is clear the Riga declaration will reaffirm European aspirations and European choices of those association partners that are going to pursue the path towards the European family.”

In addition he predicted that Georgia and Ukraine would most probably achieve visa liberalization with the European Union "next year". 

"Any Euroepan nation can submit an application for membership provided it meets all the criteria. The door remains open – that's also a very clear message,” he said.

Civil society activists from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine took him at his word, rising moments later to present what they said was a "symbolic application" for EU membership on behalf of their countries to European Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

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