Lunchtime discussion with H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Friday, January 8, 2021 - 12:00

Our first online event in 2021 was a Joint Chamber Lunchtime Discussion with H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia which was organised jointly with the Irish Latvian and Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Latvia. The online event gathered more than 50 chamber members, including investors and diplomatic corps representatives. The event was moderated by Ieva Rācenāja, Director at Riga Graduate School of Law. During the meeting, Foreign Minister spoke about Latvia and post-Brexit relations with the UK, implications of the current situation in Belarus as well as how the recent presidential elections in the USA will impact Latvia.

Talking about the Brexit deal, minister commented that even though he is saddened of the fact that the UK has left the the EU, he was pleased with the agreed trade deal and that potential new relationship looks encouraging. However, there are still a lot of details to be worked out, for example, defence and security cooperation, including the cooperation between EU and UK Law enforcement bodies. Minister also emphasised that Eastern Partnership policy is still a priority, including supporting democracy and human rights in Belarus, therefore EU is currently preparing new sanction package to Belarus. He also commented that there are quite a few companies from Belarus, mainly from IT sector, that have moved their business to Latvia.

Talking about the USA, Foreign Minister said that Latvia’s priority is a stable transatlantic relationship as well as strengthening EU-US relationship in the areas of climate, trade and multilateralism. Minister reported that Latvia has always had very good relationship with the US Administration, and it is likely to stay that way also during Joe Biden’s Presidency.

During Q&A session, minister answered questions from participants, among which were the following – travel project CommonPass, Latvia’s campaign for the United Nations Security Council seat in 2025 as well as post-Brexit implications on Latvian citizens living in the UK.

We would like to thank H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, for finding time to address our members on these important topics. We are also thankful to Riga Graduate School of Law for supporting this online discussion.