During the visit, TRH the Earl and Countess of Wessex will meet with President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis and First Lady of Latvia Iveta Vējone in the Riga Castle, as well as take part in the solemn flower-laying ceremony at the Freedom Monument. In the National Library of Latvia, a book donation ceremony by Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex to the People’s Bookshelf will be held.
The visit will be devoted to the centenary of the Latvian state and will strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, where the issues of security and economic cooperation, as well as issues of the Latvian diaspora, are of particular importance.
The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the most important partners in Latvia, as both countries work closely together on a bilateral basis, as well as in the framework of the European Union (EU), NATO, and other international organisations. Although the UK is exiting the EU, Latvia will continue the close and comprehensive cooperation with the UK especially regarding the issues of security and trade.
The UK is among the major allies of Latvia and the Baltic region regarding security and defence. Since the restoration of Latvia’s independence, the UK has provided significant assistance in developing defence structures and regional co-operation and in training. The UK experts work both at the NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence in Riga and the NATO Integration Unit. The UK regularly participates in military exercises and NATO Baltic Air Policing, as well as carries out the duties of the leading nation in NATO Multinational Battalion deployed in Estonia by the decision of the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016. It is a significant contribution to the security of the entire Baltic region.
Latvia and the UK have close co-operation in education. Thanks to the support of the British Council, various courses, seminars, conferences, and teacher training have been organised. Majority of higher education establishments in Latvia has concluded co-operation agreements with higher education establishments in the UK providing for the exchange of students, lecturers, and researchers.
Latvia and the UK also have close cultural cooperation, covering almost all areas of culture. Regular cooperation takes place in the fields of cinema, music, literature, and visual arts, as well as between theatres, museums, and national libraries. In April, Latvia participated in the London Book Fair as an honorary guest together with the other Baltic States, while artist Artūrs Analts from Latvia with his exhibition “Matter to Matter” won the grand prize at the London Design Biennale in September this year.
The largest diaspora from Latvia abroad resides in the UK consisting of at least 100,000 people. Working in the UK, Latvian nationals contribute to both the prosperity of the United Kingdom and Latvia and strengthen their personal ties between our peoples on a personal level.