Relations between Switzerland and Latvia are excellent. During talks with his Latvian counterpart, Federal Councillor Burkhalter stressed the common ground between the two countries, in particular their shared values and European heritage. During the 1990s period of transition Latvia received technical assistance and financial aid from Switzerland. Today, it is one of the beneficiaries of Switzerland’s contribution to reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged EU. Some 12 projects designed to reduce economic and social disparities in Latvia will be implemented between 2012 and 2017, at a total cost of CHF 60 million.
The two foreign ministers also discussed the European policy of both countries. With Latvia set to take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January 2015, Federal Councillor Burkhalter stressed the importance of Swiss-EU bilateral relations. Other items on the agenda included cooperation of both countries in multilateral fora, particularly the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which Switzerland will chair in 2014. The Swiss foreign minister took the opportunity to present Switzerland’s priorities during its chairmanship.
The Swiss and Latvian foreign ministers also discussed the Middle East, particularly developments in Syria, which Switzerland views with growing concern. Federal Councillor Burkhalter spoke of Switzerland’s humanitarian commitment and reiterated Switzerland’s support for a political solution to the current crisis.
Prior to his meeting with Federal Councillor Burkhalter, the Latvian foreign minister discussed the current status and future of bilateral economic relations between Switzerland and Latvia with Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary and director of the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO), part of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER).
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