“We are grateful to Slovakia for its contribution to the security of Latvia and the Baltic region. We are extremely happy that Slovak troops will join the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group in Latvia this July. Your participation in the NATO battle group reaffirms the Alliance’s unwavering commitment to the strengthening of security in our region,” said Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima during the meeting with Andrej Danko, Speaker of the Slovak parliament (the National Council), on Tuesday, 12 June.
Speaker Mūrniece expressed her appreciation for the friendly and close ties between Slovakia and Latvia, stressing that both countries are successfully strengthening their bilateral cooperation not only in the area of security, but also economics, social affairs and health care. The signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Children’s Clinical University Hospital and the National Institute for Children’s Diseases of Slovakia, planned for today, attests to this close cooperation.
The Speakers discussed the current agenda of the European Union (EU), and Speaker Mūrniece underlined the importance of EU’s multi-annual financial framework and Latvia’s priorities in that regard, for example, cohesion policy and convergence, farming subsidies and flagship cross-border infrastructure projects. Latvia does not support the proposed cohesion policy funding cuts and calls for more equitable direct payments to farmers. For Latvia it is also important to secure further EU funding for the high-speed railway project Rail Baltica.
Speaker Danko underlined the interest of both countries to cooperate at the regional level as well. Slovakia will soon take over the presidency of the Visegrad Group and will propose joint meetings with the Baltic Assembly. Speaker Mūrniece welcomed this initiative.
The Speakers also discussed Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, and Speaker Mūrniece highlighted the continued military aggression in Ukraine. The EU must continue its sanction policy against Russia until full implementation of the Minsk agreements. It is paramount for the EU to keep a firm and united stance.
The meeting with the Slovak Speaker was also attended by Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chair of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee; Aija Barča, Chair of the Saeima Social and Employment Matters Committee; and Romualds Ražuks, Chair of the Public Health Subcommittee of the Saeima Social and Employment Affairs Committee.
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Saeima Press Service