The European Union (EU) should express strong support for a fair, rules-based multilateral trade system, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said at the 6th meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Baltic States and Nordic countries (NB8) and Visegrad Group countries (V4) in Stockholm on June 19th, reports LETA.
At the meeting the ministers exchanged opinions about the future of the EU, Brexit, the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework, relationship with Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership countries, transatlantic relations, as well as preparations for the upcoming NATO summit, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.
“We see Europe as a global player and an advocate of international law, open and proud of its values. For the European Union to remain a global player in defending and safeguarding the rights internationally, it is of vital importance that inside the Union we, the Member States, honor and implement the regulations and foster the values that are enshrined in the European Union treaties and binding upon us,” Rinkevics said.
“The European Union should continue expressing its strong support for an open trade policy and a fair, rules-based multilateral trade system. The European Union should encourage and constantly remind the other major global economies to maintain trust in this system and its potential to guarantee stability, transparency, growth and security,” he underlined.
The next Multiannual Financial Framework would be a litmus test for the EU’s solidarity, the Latvian foreign minister said, noting that a 13 percent decrease in cohesion funding to Latvia is more than the average decrease and exceeds the Brexit-related budget shortfall twice.
Referring to the Eastern Partnership, Rinkevics expressed an opinion that it was vital to keep the Eastern Partnership as one of the EU’s priorities. The EU external financial instruments should reflect the priorities set out in the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, he said.
The meeting was organized by Sweden, which is coordinating the NB8, and Hungary, the country currently presiding over V4.