The President of the Government of Spain visits Latvia

Sanchez signals Spain's interest in deepening economic, social and cultural relations with Latvia

President's News - 7.7.2021

Riga (Latvia)

During the meeting, the two leaders showed great understanding and confirmed that Spain and Latvia could extend their collaboration on issues related to their respective recovery plans.

The President of the Government underlined to Kariņš that: "We have noted the desire for greater coordination within the European Union in the face of an agenda full of challenges on which we are in good harmony, such as the management of the pandemic and economic and social recovery, in which our National Plans will play a decisive role; the European Union's Structured Cooperation in defence matters; and the new Migration and Asylum Pact".

On European agenda items, Spain and Latvia, located at the extremes of the EU, support the European neighbourhood, both to the east and south, and the need for the Union to develop a strong partnership with both.

On the EU's relations with Russia, Sánchez recalled that, at the last European Council, the 27 heads of state and government considered that the five guiding principles are still valid, and agreed on different areas of shared interest in which to collaborate with Russia, such as the fight against climate change. In this regard, President Sánchez supported the work of the High Representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell.

"The lessons to be learned from the pandemic are, first of all, that there is strength in numbers," the president stressed, and detailed that, thanks to the European Union, a historic agreement was reached in 2020 for the approval of the European Recovery Funds, and economic resources could be advanced to develop vaccines against COVID-19 "in record time". In this sense, Sánchez stressed that "Spain and Latvia have worked side by side in favour of our societies".

Latvia ranks 24th as a destination for our country's exports, worth more than 272 million euros, and 26th as a source of our imports, totalling almost 105 million euros. For this reason, both leaders noted that there is capacity to deepen trade relations. In this sense, one of the areas in which Spain and Latvia could strengthen their ties is in infrastructure, a sector in which a group of Spanish companies are already working in Latvia.

The agenda of the head of the Executive included a meeting with the Speaker of the Latvian Parliament, Ināra Mūrniece, and, together with the Prime Minister, the laying of a wreath at the Freedom Monument. Built in 1935 to honour the soldiers who died during the Latvian War of Independence, this monument is the symbol of Latvia's independence.

The president expressed his interest that the commemoration of the centenary, in 2021, of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Spain and Latvia, two allied countries, "will be the definitive drive towards our future relationship".

Spain's participation in NATO missions

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoSpain actively participates in NATO operations and in NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence as a country firmly committed to the security of the Baltic States, contributing to international peace and stability.

Spain's commitment to Latvia is evidenced by the presence of Spanish military personnel at the Ādaži base since June 2017. Currently, 347 Spanish military personnel and 106 vehicles, including Leopard and Pizarro tanks, are integrated in Ādaži in the Multinational Battalion of Operation 'Enhanced Forward Presence'. Spain also collaborates in the protection of Latvian airspace with NATO's Baltic Air Patrol mission, based in Lithuania.

During his visit to the base, the president highlighted the "excellent work" carried out by the Spanish military personnel who are part of this NATO deterrence and defence mission in Latvia. Sánchez also stressed the importance of the mission, with which "they contribute to the collective security of all friendly and allied countries", and remembered the 60 Spanish soldiers who have lost their lives in NATO operations.

"Today you are the most tangible and demanding demonstration of Spain's commitment to NATO allies, which must be a 360-degree alliance, that is, one that addresses all the challenges and threats to our security wherever they originate and spread," stressed the president of the government.

Before travelling to Lithuania tomorrow, the day in Latvia concluded with Sánchez and Kariņš visiting the Latvian National Museum of Art, which has loaned part of its textile exhibition to the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Madrid. With this material, the Spanish museum is currently showing the exhibition 'Tradition and Modernity. Latvian textile art' as part of the centenary commemoration, a celebration that has helped to deepen the exchange between Spanish and Latvian institutions.

Non official translation