Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade
Priorities of Latvian Presidency of European Council: Latvian Ambassador to Ireland
I welcome the representatives and thank them for appearing before the committee and wish them every success. We know how time consuming and difficult the presidency is for all sections of government. Russia has been mentioned. Can the ambassador see any approaches that would improve relationships with Russia, outside of the issues in relation to concerns in Ukraine, as the dialogue between Russia, which is Latvia's nearest neighbour, and the European Union has almost dried up? Surely, that is not conducive to developing relationships, understanding and influencing events which are important to both Russia and to the European Union. One of the key issues in the European Union at the moment is the situation regarding Greece and potentially leaving the Union but hopefully not. As for the Presidency, can Latvia see itself taking initiatives rather than the various ministerial meetings to try to overcome the difficulties that have arisen and find solutions as it is a highly complex issue? While some commentators say the EU is in a better position now to lose Greece than it was previously, we have to be careful about believing much of that because it certainly would reduce international confidence in the euro if Greece left the European Union, apart from other issues surrounding it. Has Latvia looked at any initiatives that the Presidency could take?