Regardless if Britain exits EU or not, it will be necessary to amend a number of Latvia’s laws and regulations, said Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs during a meeting of Saeima’s European Affairs Committee.
He explains the government will base evaluation of proposed legislative changes in line with Brexit – whether or not the British parliament decides to support Brexit Agreement next week.
»Foreign Affairs Ministry will unveil proposals to amend several laws at the beginning of February. We do not believe there should be one ‘roof law’. Saeima will have about a month after that to review proposals,» explains Rinkēvičs.
The politician had previously mentioned that «if the British parliament affirms the agreement, there will be only one legislative package to carry to the Saeima and the government, whereas if the British parliament rejects the agreement, a slightly different package of laws will be submitted».
The minister notes that one of the laws in need of amending is the Immigration Law. If Britain leaves EU without the agreement, there could be a break in relation to social security matters, which means amendments will be necessary for the State Social Benefits Law and State Pensions Law.
«We still have to wait for the final decision from the British parliament to prepare a clear formulation of several legislative texts. Nevertheless, we already know amendments will be needed for the Higher Education Law and other related regulations, as well as documents issued in accordance with the law on regulated professions and Document Legalization Law. There is also a number of laws that govern entrepreneurship and tax policy,» said the politician, adding that all amendments should come to force 30 March.
He reminded that this is the first time a country has decided to leave the EU. With that, no matter how well-developed legislative constructions there are, there will be problems after 29 March.
Rinkēvičs stresses that multiple of the future decisions will be aimed at ensuring uninterrupted economic cooperation.
Commenting on protection of interests of Latvian citizens, the politician said that if the exit agreement is signed, nothing will change for those Latvians. However, if the document is not signed, Britain had mentioned previously that there will not be any immediate negative effect on Latvian citizens’ legal status. At the same time, Latvia also considers applying the same welfare status to British citizens living in Latvia.
«As far as I’ve heard from unofficial statements from British politicians, the British parliament will not ratify the exit agreement. In this case we will have to work together with our British colleagues to decide if we need a hard exit or institute a transition period. I believe if we need more time for talks, this would be a good move, even if 27 other member states may not agree to any major compromises,» says Rinkēvičs.
As it is known, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has made it clear – if Britain exits the EU without an agreement, it will cause additional expenditures for Latvia’s budget worth EUR 10.1 million in the next three-year period.