On 14 April 2021, political consultations were held in a video-conference format between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and the Netherlands. Latvia was represented in the dialogue by the Under-Secretary of State, Political Director Jānis Mažeiks, and the Netherlands, by the Director-General for Political Affairs, Thijs van der Plas.
The consultations addressed bilateral and regional cooperation between Latvia and the Netherlands, as well as cooperation in international organisations. Jānis Mažeiks spoke positively on the close bilateral relations between Latvia and the Netherlands and expressed gratitude to the Netherlands for recognising the Republic of Latvia de jure 100 years ago, on 24 March 1921.
A discussion on bilateral issues and the situation with COVID-19 in Europe turned also to security policy with special attention devoted to the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy and cooperation in NATO. Jānis Mažeiks underlined that, for Latvia, the priority is NATO’s collective defence and deterrence. Latvia supports an increase in NATO’s overall defence funding and continues strengthening its national capabilities. The EU should also keep working on consolidating its defence capabilities through improving resilience and crisis response as well as contributing to enhanced stability in the EU’s neighbourhood.
The Political Directors agreed that transatlantic unity is indispensable for European and global security. The diplomats also expressed the need for continued close cooperation with the United Kingdom. Concerning the latest foreign policy developments, the Political Directors focused on the state of affairs in the Eastern Partnership countries as well as future prospects for that format of cooperation. Jānis Mažeiks underlined that the EU should consider ways of supporting more effectively reform processes in the Eastern Partnership countries. The Political Director of the Latvian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over Russia’s possible continuing attempts to destabilise the situation in Eastern Ukraine. And Jānis Mažeiks noted that Latvia will be keeping up its support for civil society in Belarus.
Opinions were shared on cooperation in human rights matters, and Jānis Mažeiks complimented and praised the role of the Netherlands in initiating and developing the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and he said that Latvia was open for further cooperation in the EU framework.
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