"There are very different opinions in British parliament over leaving the EU, and that's why the EU can't help Brexit move forward. The Brits have to decide what it is that they want," Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary at the Foreign Ministry, told Latvian Radio January 16.
She warned that there'd be overwhelming chaos in trade and migration in the event of a so-called "hard Brexit", saying that Latvia is nevertheless preparing for such a scenario. For example, a number of bills have been drawn up that would be adopted in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The first bill in line, she said, is one allowing British citizens stay and work in Latvia, and it is hoped that the UK would adopt reciprocal measures.
Meanwhile Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs tweeted that he hopes the UK will provide proposals of ways to move ahead.
I regret that British Parliament rejected #BREXIT deal. I hope that UK government will provide proposals for the way forward. The simple truth is that both UK and Europe need each other and we must work together to to get through this rather complex situation— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) January 15, 2019
He likewise tweeted, in Latvian, that the country would be prepared to defend the rights of its citizens in any Brexit scenario.
But Kalniņa-Lukaševica nevertheless conceded that the only thing that's sure at this point is that things are uncertain. "You can't rule anything out, because uncertainty is now the main keyword [as concerns Brexit]," she said.
Latvia has big incentives to maintain good relations with the UK, seeing as an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 diaspora Latvians live in the country.