Latvian FM concerned about global uncertainties, but confident about EU's future

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-25 06:47:48|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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RIGA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics Thursday expressed concerns over uncertainties in current global politics, but voiced confidence in the European Union's (EU) future.

In his annual report to the parliament ahead of lawmakers' debate on foreign relations Thursday, the foreign minister said that along with fast digitalization and global openness, the world is faced with great uncertainties in virtually all spheres.

Future solutions after the UK's forthcoming exit from the EU on March 29 are still veiled in "thick London fog", Rinkevics said, expressing concerns about Brexit's international repercussions.

Domestic political processes in several member states can trigger new internal and external storms within the EU, and problems like breaches of the rule of law and democratic norms, difficult negotiations on the bloc's next budget and fresh migration risks do not contribute to Europe's general security, he told MPs.

"Despite the shocks experienced by the EU, I believe the EU has a strong future. There are several practical reasons for this. Only a united EU can compete and be an equal player in the world, especially in the global economy and diplomacy. There is no other way for the EU," he added.

A divided and fragmented EU can only waste its resources. The EU must remain united in its diversity, based on the existence of strong and national states. But in the circumstances of globalization, the EU must not split up into small and argumentative groups of interests, Rinkevics said, calling for a strong European defense identity to complement NATO capabilities.

"We will support bolstering Europe's defense capabilities, but we reject the idea of a European army overlapping with NATO functions. We need a strong and united European foreign policy. We need a united European energy policy. We need steady and strong EU-US relations," he noted.

The minister also called for urgent measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing risks in Latvia's banks. "Combating financial crime and compliance with international sanctions is a common norm in the Western financial world. A country that ignores it gets ostracized by market mechanisms and other countries, Rinkevics warned.

"Latvia will keep boosting its domestic and external security, supporting the upholding and development of the existing international system. Latvia will be actively backing a united and secure EU also after the UK's withdrawal," he said, "This will be done based on the Baltic-Nordic cooperation format, which is a strategically important source of Latvia's economic prosperity and security."