On 25 November 2020, political consultations in a video-conference format were held between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Finland. At the consultations, Latvia was represented by the Under-Secretary of State, Jānis Mažeiks, Political Director at the Latvian Foreign Ministry, and Finland was represented by the Director General Mikko Kinnunen, Political Director at the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
The consultations addressed bilateral and regional cooperation, with a special focus on regional security. Jānis Mažeiks commended the close and constructive relations between Latvia and Finland. The Political Directors were of one mind that in conditions of changing security, it is necessary to ensure close exchanges of information, cooperation and crisis preparedness. Mikko Kinnunen made a concise presentation of the new Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy. The diplomats also shared views on how the European Union and its separate Member States can provide assistance to third countries in conflict situations, and they mentioned as an example the ministerial pledging conference for Afghanistan in Geneva which was co-hosted by Finland and organised with Finnish support.
The Political Directors underlined the need for a continued close cooperation with the United States of America in order to reinforce transatlantic relations and multilateralism, jointly address questions of climate and mitigating and overcoming the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also noted that the EU must work on the strengthening of its defence capabilities.
Their wide ranging conversation on foreign affairs also addressed developments in the Eastern Partnership countries and future prospects for the Eastern Partnership as a cooperation format. The officials pointed out that close cooperation with the United Kingdom must be continued, including in the format where the UK meets together with the NB8 (Nordic-Baltic) countries.
On the subject of security policy, the officials shared views on the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy initiatives and cooperation in NATO. Jānis Mažeiks underlined that as part of the discussion on the EU’s strategic autonomy launched in the EU at the political level, focus must be placed on the practical issues of building EU capabilities, as well as strengthening capabilities in the areas the COVID-19 crisis as illuminated as weak points, for instance, health care, development of manufacturing, and diversification of supply chains. The Political Directors welcomed NATO’s extended cooperation with Finland in various fields, including participation in military exercises.
The Political Directors also reviewed preparations for the ministerial meetings in NATO and the OSCE scheduled for December.
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