“Ukraine can always count on Latvia’s support. We will continue to offer our help to Ukraine on its road to reform,” Speaker Ināra Mūrniece underlined on Wednesday, 13 December, welcoming to the Saeima Andriy Parubiy, Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament.
Speaker of the Saeima also reiterated Latvia’s unwavering support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Speaker Mūrniece and Speaker Parubiy agreed that the EU must not lift sanctions against Russia until full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The sanctions send Russia a clear signal that its actions in Ukraine are not acceptable.
Both speakers noted the excellent political dialogue between Latvia and Ukraine, including at the parliamentary level. The Speaker of the Saeima stressed that the Saeima parliamentary friendship group with the parliament of Ukraine is one of the most active inter-parliamentary cooperation groups in the Latvian parliament.
Ināra Mūrniece also mentioned the importance of trade relations. Despite the complicated political and economic environment in Ukraine, Latvian companies are actively investing in the country. However, it is crucial to improve the business environment in Ukraine.
Speaker Mūrniece praised Ukraine’s swift reform progress, while also highlighting that more needs to be done, especially in areas such as the rule of law, good governance, and the fight against corruption. “We know how challenging the reform process can be, especially when you have to hold a sword in one hand and work tools in the other,” said Ināra Mūrniece.
Speaker Parubiy thanked Latvia for its firm support to Ukraine’s road to European integration. Now the citizens of Ukraine can travel to the EU visa-free, and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement has come into force. Speaker Mūrniece emphasised the importance of Ukraine prioritising politically full implementation of the Association Agreement.
Speaker Parubiy expressed his concerns that Russia’s hybrid threats, including information warfare, are even more dangerous than its military aggression in Ukraine. The Nord Stream II project is a hybrid threat not only to Ukraine, but to the whole of Europe. Speaker Mūrniece highlighted Latvia’s position that Nord Stream II fails to fall in line with the external energy policy of the EU and weakens the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The Speaker of the Saeima announced that Latvia insists on and expects Ukraine to be on the agenda of the NATO 2018 Summit in Brussels.
The meeting concluded with the Ukrainian Speaker inviting Speaker Mūrniece to visit Ukraine.
The meeting was also attended by Lolita Čigāne, Chair of the Saeima European Affairs Committee; Ainars Latkovskis, Chair of the Saeima Defence, Interior and Anti-corruption Committee; Romāns Naudiņš, Chair of the Economic Affairs, Agriculture, Environment and Regional Policy Committee; and Rihards Kols, Deputy Chair of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee.
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Saeima Press Service