Latvia's Prime Minister visits Berlin
Although the balance of trade is satisfactory, there is still scope for stepping up economic contacts, said Chancellor Angela Merkel with a view to German direct investment in Latvia. The inaugural visit of Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš to the Federal Chancellery follows only a few weeks after the Chancellor welcomed Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis to Berlin.
The main focus of the meeting between Angela Merkel and the Latvian Prime Minister was Europe. A clear commitment to NATO was expressed. European defence policy cannot under any circumstances be seen as replacing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, explained Angela Merkel. The European defence landscape is fragmented and the more European input can be achieved "the better for NATO too".
With a view to Brexit, the Chancellor stressed that the 27 European Union member states have managed very well to agree on a common position. It is very heartening, she added that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier have made a large number of proposals of ways of addressing what is termed the backstop, thus providing a high level of legal clarity. It is now up to the United Kingdom, she said, to declare its position. The Chancellor said, "We want to see a good partnership with the United Kingdom." Everything will be done to achieve this.
The two leaders also discussed relations with Russia. Angela Merkel underlined the common position of Latvia and Germany regarding the Ukraine conflict. She reported that the issue of disinformation had also been discussed in this context.
Germany is one of the most important trading partners of the Baltic state and plays a major role in imports and exports. Following the end of the Cold War, the Federal Republic of Germany provided support to integrate Latvia in Euro-Atlantic structures.