Today on 1 December, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš met with President of France Emmanuel Macron to discuss a number of current issues, including the security situation in the region in the context of the hybrid attack by the Belarus regime on the Eastern border of the European Union (EU) and the mobilisation of Russian military forces at the Ukrainian borders.
“The security situation in the region has changed. Russia’s objective is to create instability - we see it within a broader context, both through Russia’s actions at the Ukrainian borders, the manipulation with energy prices, disinformation and the hybrid attack by the Belarus regime on the EU’s external borders. Our task, at this time, is to strengthen the European Union and NATO. The two organisations form the cornerstone of our security and are mutually reinforcing," stressed the Prime Minister at the meeting.
K. Kariņš expressed gratitude to France for its support in the complicated situation on the border with Belarus and appreciated the French President’s personal involvement in the negotiations with the migrants’ countries of origin, which has helped to limit flights and thus the flow of migrants to the external border between Belarus and the EU. The officials also addressed the EU’s migration framework. Both sides recognized that the existing EU migration framework does not meet today’s challenges, in particular the circumstances of the hybrid attack, and needs to be changed accordingly.
As regards the concentration of Russian forces at the Ukrainian borders, the Prime Minister stressed the need for a strong EU-NATO signal to Russia that there will be serious consequences in case of escalation of the situation. The Prime Minister called on France to support the enhanced NATO’s presence in the Baltic region.
Within the framework of the meeting, the leaders highlighted the role of the EU-NATO cooperation and the fact that both organisations complement each other. In addition, the leaders agreed that, in the discussion on the future of Europe, it was also essential to find an answer to the question of how to make Europe stronger, taking into account not only security challenges but also other current and future challenges.
At the meeting, K. Kariņš and the President of France also discussed the upcoming French EU Presidency. Both officials addressed the priority issues in the fields of climate, digital transformation, industrial policy, as well as other EU priorities. The Prime Minister stressed that Latvia is strongly committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it has to be proportional and realistic.