President Klaus Iohannis began his official visit to Latvia on Wednesday, being received with military honors at the Riga Castle by his Latvian counterpart, Egils Levits.
President Iohannis’ delegation includes presidential advisors Luminita Odobescu, Ion Oprisor, Daniela Barsan, Delia Dinu, as well as the Romanian ambassador to Lithuania and Latvia, Cosmin Dinescu.
The two presidents are to have face-to-face and official talks, at the end of which they will make joint press statements.
During the visit to Riga, which takes place in the year of the centenary of the establishment of Romanian-Latvian diplomatic relations, President Iohannis will also have meetings with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krisjanis Karins, and Speaker of the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament) Edvards Smiltens. President Iohannis will also lay a wreath at the Freedom Monument and visit the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.
On Thursday, the head of state will be on an official visit to the Republic of Lithuania, in Vilnius, and on Friday, in Kaunas, he will participate in the international symposium The Idea of Europe. Afterwards, the president will participate, together with his counterparts from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, in a summit dedicated to strengthening NATO’s Eastern Flank, supporting Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and promoting European memory, with an emphasis on combating disinformation and attempts to rewrite history.
The consolidation of bilateral relations, including the strengthening of economic and sectoral cooperation, the European and international agenda are some of the topics on the agenda of President Iohannis’ talks with his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts, as well as with other high-ranking officials, informs the Presidential Administration.
“Considering the worsening of the security situation in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, an important place in the discussions will be occupied by cooperation within NATO and the strengthening of the Eastern Flank of the Alliance aimed at ensuring Europe’s security, including through Romania’s participation in the enhanced air policing mission in the Baltic countries, starting with 2023. Other topics to be tackled will be the possibilities of increasing assistance efforts for Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees, considering the destruction generated by the war and the coming of winter, as well as measures to support grain exports from Ukraine, to ensure the food security of some vulnerable third countries,” said the source.
Energy security will also be on the agenda of the discussions, with an emphasis on solutions for diversifying Europe’s gas supply, in order to reduce dependence on Russian gas. The developments in the Republic of Moldova and assistance measures in the difficult economic context that the neighboring state is going through will also be addressed, as well as regional cooperation, including from the perspective of the Bucharest Nine and the Three Seas Initiative.
I agreed with president Levits to intensify cooperation in research, new technologies, education, energy security
President Klaus Iohannis declared on Wednesday in Riga that he agreed with his Latvian counterpart, Egils Levits, to intensify sectoral cooperation in research and innovation, new technologies, education and energy security, adding that from 1 May 2023, direct flights between Riga and Bucharest will resume.
President Iohannis said that bilateral relations with Latvia are excellent and that he informed his Latvian counterpart about the decision to open the Romanian Embassy in Riga.
“It is proof of the special importance we attach to the relationship with Latvia, to the desire to deepen bilateral cooperation, as well as our coordination within the European Union, NATO, regional and multilateral formats,” Iohannis added, according to Agerpres.
He thanked his Latvian counterpart for the constant support of Romania’s objectives of accession to the Schengen Area, respectively to the OECD.
“We decided to deepen the coordination within the European Union, considering the fact that our positions on the main European files, which we discussed in detail, are very close,” Iohannis stressed.
The discussions also focused on the energy crisis, a context in which the Romanian president emphasized the importance of close coordination on topics of common interest at the European level, especially in terms of security of supply and price reduction. Cooperation opportunities in the context of the energy transition were also discussed.
Iohannis presented the Latvian president with Romania’s support measures for the Republic of Moldova. He indicated that Romania and Latvia are engaged in the advancement of the European Union enlargement process.
“I reaffirmed my support for the European future of the Western Balkans, as well as for the European integration of the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, based on their own merits,” Iohannis said.
The two officials also discussed the situation in Ukraine, a context in which the determined actions of the European and Euro-Atlantic community to increase the pressure on the Kremlin, including through new sanctions, were welcomed.
“I also reconfirmed Romania’s participation, in 2023, in the NATO air police mission in the Baltic states,” Iohannis said.
The Latvian official welcomed Romania’s decision to participate in the NATO air police mission in the Baltic countries in 2023.
“I would like to thank Romania for its decision to open an embassy in Riga. It is a very important decision for bilateral relations and it is an opportunity to strengthen these relations on a practical level, on a political level, to strengthen our common positions in several fields,” Egils Levits also said.
The two heads of state exchange decorations
President of the Republic of Latvia, Egils Levits presented on Wednesday in Riga President Klaus Iohannis with the Order of the Three Stars – Commander Grand Cross (1st class).
In his turn, Iohannis conferred on Levits the National Order of the ‘Star of Romania’ in the grade of Collar.
The exchange of decorations took place after the welcome ceremony for President Klaus Iohannis at the Riga Palace.
The Romanian head of state wrote a message in the Riga Palace book of honor, pointing out that 2022 is an important year for Romanian-Latvian relations, as it marks the 100th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
“I am convinced that the relations between Romania and the Republic of Latvia will continue to develop,” President Iohannis noted in the book.