Economics, EU – Baltic States, Latvia, Legislation

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Latvia wishes to have Britain as an active and powerful member of EU bloc

BC, Riga, 23.01.2013.Print version
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) believes that the reaction to British Prime Minister David Cameron's statement that Britain could hold a referendum on staying in the EU after the next elections in the country should be calm but sharp, noting that Latvia wishes to have Britain as an active and powerful member of the bloc, writes LETA.

"I believe the reaction should be calm but sharp. The British nation has the right to decide independently what they want their future to be. I would certainly wish to see Britain as an active and powerful EU member state," said Rinkevics, adding that Latvia and Great Britain had very good bilateral contacts and Latvia definitely wanted Britain to remain an EU member. "We all are interested in a joint meeting to analyze what needs to be done so the EU regain its dynamics in the economic and also in the political area, and to reduce pessimism and skepticism," Rinkevics told LETA.


The discussion about the future of Europe have been continuing for quite a while in many member states. What is most important is that it is perceived seriously. "I do not want to see any hysterical reactions," said Rinkevics, adding that so far no EU member state had quit the bloc.


"Be it Latvia or Great Britain, one of the largest EU member states, we can well see that there are more of political and economic opportunities for those within the EU than for those that are not members of the bloc," said the minister.


The EU single market, joint foreign and security policies are important to Latvia, and the functionality of the EU will not improve if some member states claim a special status for themselves, said Rinkevics.


Rinkevics hopes that the economic situation in Europe will change for the better in the next four years, and many of the current problems will be solved through negotiations.

However, politics is not always based on rational reasons. "Of course, there will be many rational as well as emotional arguments during this debate. Just like the eurozone accession debate taking place in Latvia at the moment," said Rinkevics.


British Prime Minister David Cameron promised today to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 giving British people the choice of staying in or leaving the EU – if his party wins the next election.


In a long-awaited speech in London, Cameron said he wants to first renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the European Union because "public disillusionment with the EU is at an all-time high.

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