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Channel Islands/Latvia: Ministerial visit ahead of Latvian EU Presidency

The Deputy Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Allister Langlois, visited Riga on 11-12 September. He was accompanied by officials from Guernsey, Jersey and CIBO.  The objectives of his visit were firstly to discuss EU policy issues of mutual interest ahead of the Latvian Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2015; and secondly to discuss bilateral relations, in particular in view of the significant Latvian community in Guernsey.

The Deputy Chief Minister’s programme included meetings with the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Viktors Makarovs; the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Ms Lolita Cigane; the Chair of the EU Committee of the Saeima (Latvian Parliament), Ms Zanda Lukasevica; the Chair of the UK Friendship Group of the Saeima, Mr Valdis Liepins; the  Deputy Chairman of the Finance and Administration Issues Committee of Riga City Council, Mr Vjaceslavs Stepanenko; the State Secretary of the Ministry of Welfare,  Ms Ieva Jaunzeme; and the Charge d’Affaires of the British Embassy, Mr Iain Frew. In addition officials held more detailed talks at the Ministry of Finance.

Speaking ahead of the visit Deputy Langlois said:

“Latvia’s Presidency comes at a key time for the EU. The new EU Commission will start its five year mandate in November and so the Latvian Presidency will therefore be an important period for setting priorities for the next five years – and for debates between the three EU institutions about what those priorities should be. Latvia has picked out advancing the EU digital economy as a Presidency priority, so the visit is a good opportunity to look for future areas of cooperation and business development. “

“As well as discussing the EU Presidency, I am looking forward to finding out more about how we can build business and e-commerce links, and understanding better the significant progress that Latvia and Riga has made in welfare reform and digital government. Our Latvian community is an important part of the wider community and our economy, so stronger links with Latvia and Riga in both directions are important and useful.”