Given the deterioration of the security situation caused by the Ukraine crisis, she absolutely understands the concerns of the people in Latvia and the other Baltic States, explained the Federal Chancellor following talks with Latvia’s Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma in Riga.
The duty to provide assistance agreed under the Nato Treaty does not merely exist on paper; in case of doubt, it must be put into action, too, said Merkel. In addition to the monitoring of airspace already promised, this means more exercises and manoeuvres in which Germany will actively participate, announced the Federal Chancellor.
According to Merkel, every effort must be taken to ensure the Baltic States have the infrastructure in place to enable a rapid response and that this rapid response can be implemented in practice, too. This will be the subject of talks at the Nato summit in Cardiff, she said.
“Germany is prepared to help meet the understandable and justified need of the people of Latvia and the other Baltic States to protect themselves”, the Federal Chancellor continued.
Another subject of the talks was the Presidency of the EU Council, which Latvia will assume on 1 January 2015. The Federal Chancellor assured Latvia of Germany’s support in this respect, too.
On the introduction of the euro to Latvia, Merkel explained: “We are delighted that, with Latvia, we have a new country joining the Eurozone that is in absolute support of the path of economic stability and that, through its own difficult years, has proven that the economic crisis and the crisis in Europe can be overcome and is now on a better path.”
Merkel and Straujuma also spoke about vocational training. The Federal Chancellor welcomed the fact that close contacts have meanwhile developed between Germany and Latvia, also between chambers of commerce and industry. She said she is very pleased that Latvia will be one of the first countries able to use the European programme to combat youth unemployment.
Following talks with the Latvian Prime Minister, Merkel was received by President Andris Bērziņš. At the start of her visit, the Federal Chancellor had laid flowers at the Freedom Monument in Riga.