On Monday 19 December, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre and Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdóttir within the framework of the meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) in Riga.
The officials discussed the bilateral relations between Latvia and the United Kingdom, as well as the security situation in Europe. Prime Minister Kariņš highlighted the potential of both countries to deepen economic cooperation in the areas of energy and technology, including the use of renewable sources. The Prime Minister noted that Latvia was progressing towards economic transformation and was interested in even closer cooperation with the UK in the field of smart technologies.
Both parties agreed that Latvia and the United Kingdom shared common values, and the countries were like-minded partners who were jointly adapting to the new challenges. The Prime Minister thanked the UK for its strong stance and support to Ukraine in its war against Russia.
During the meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre, further economic cooperation with a focus on energy was discussed. The Prime Minister noted that Latvia would experience a rapid energy transition in the coming years, where it also saw the potential for the Norwegian investment and expertise. The Prime Ministers then discussed the energy policy of the European Union (EU) and Norway, in view of the fact that Norway had significantly increased energy supplies to the EU over the past year. Krišjānis Kariņš expressed gratitude to Norway for its participation in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Lithuania, and pointed out the need to clearly demonstrate progress in strengthening NATO presence at the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius.
At a meeting with Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Latvian Prime Minister emphasized Iceland’s crucial role in restoring Latvia’s independence. Krišjānis Kariņš also noted that Latvia cooperated with and supported Iceland during its Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, especially in preparation for the Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in Reykjavik. At the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for Iceland’s contribution to strengthening the security of the Baltic region.
For the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Norway and Iceland, this was the first visit to Latvia since their taking office.