On 9 May 2018 in Riga, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Jacek Czaputowicz, who was in Latvia on a working visit.
Latvia and Poland are linked by excellent bilateral relations based on an active bilateral dialogue, noted Edgars Rinkēvičs. He added that the current year Latvia and Poland also celebrate their 100th anniversaries of established and regained statehood, respectively. Besides, the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, is expected to make a visit to Latvia this coming June.
The Minister offered gratitude to Poland for its contribution to Latvia’s security by sending its troops to the Canada-led NATO battlegroup in Latvia.
Both Ministers also discussed the bilateral relations between the countries and regional cooperation, the state of affairs in the region and security policy updates. The Ministers shared views on cooperation with the United Kingdom after its withdrawal from the EU and on the European Commission’s proposal for the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021–2027.
We have carefully examined the Commission’s proposal for the EU multiannual budget for 2021–2027, said Edgars Rinkēvičs, adding that Latvia is expecting detailed proposals on specific aspects of financing sectoral policies, including the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy. The Latvian Foreign Minister voiced a position that promoting harmonisation of direct payments under CAP is a step in the right direction, since the Baltic States and Poland have emphasised, for many years, the need to ensure equal conditions for all EU farmers and prevent distortion of competition in the European Single Market.
The Ministers also discussed the functioning of Polish minority schools in Latvia: the Polish culture and language is currently being taught in five educational institutions. Edgars Rinkēvičs confirmed that the proposals prepared by the Ministry of Education and Science on education reform did set out the action to be taken in the closest years; however, the document would have to undergo public consultations and debates in the government and the Saeima. In the course of the reform, the responsible ministry is planning to retain the current arrangement concerning Polish minority schools, namely, ensuring the work of guest teachers, and opportunities for learning the Polish language, literature, history and geography.
As part of his visit, the Polish Foreign Minister also took a tour of Camp Ādaži, a military base where a Polish tank company with a logistical support element comprised of 160 soldiers is deployed as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Latvia. At the National Library of Latvia, Foreign Minister Czaputowitcz presented a book as a donation to the People’s Bookshelf.
Poland is the fifth main partner to Latvia in foreign trade and an especially important partner in terms of imports (ranking among the top three since 2014).
Latvia is home to more than 41 000 Poles, which constitutes 2.1 per cent of the country’s population. The diaspora has established the Latvian Polish Union and the Polish Cultural Centre in the city of Daugavpils.