October 20, 2017

Busy work is under way to make bilateral regions between the UK and Latvia even stronger, British Ambassador to Latvia Keith Shannon said in an interview with LETA.

The ambassador said that the UK’s relations with Latvia cannot be considered only in the EU framework. Already now there is a strong bilateral relationship, cooperation in NATO and other organizations. The cooperation is ongoing and will continue in education, scientific research, trade and other areas also after Brexit, Shannon said.

The things we do today they are highly valued among the member countries and we will look for ways to do them slightly differently. We are need to be more active with each individual member state as we are leaving the EU, so we are working to strengthen bilateral relations with Latvia. It will also be important to continue security cooperation not only within NATO but also supporting stability and growth Eastern Europe, for example, in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, which are important not only to Latvia but also the UK, the ambassador said.

Assessing the progress made so far in the Brexit negotiations, the British diplomat voiced confidence that certain progress has been made on citizen rights issues, as well as on Ireland’s border and the UK’s financial obligations towards the EU. He also noted that British Prime Minister Teresa May has clearly stated in her speech in Florence that the UK would meet its financial obligations.

“My government’s position is that real progress has been made and we will hear towards the end of the week whether that is recognized as sufficient progress to move towards the next stage of the negotiations… But I would not want to anticipate what decisions will be made by leaders of the EU 28… The discussions are still ongoing… We are keen to move to the next stage of the negotiations because we believe that the separation arrangement and future relationships are closely interconnected and should be addressed simultaneously,” Ambassador Shannon said.

It will still be necessary to debate cooperation in security, data protection, science, innovation, education and other spheres.

The ambassador said that both sides are clearly interested in discussing these issues and that there are no doubts that the UK will remain a close partner of the EU.