We had the opportunity to discuss not only the bilateral relations between Latvia and Germany, but also the issues of the international agenda, the future of the European Union, and the significance of transatlantic relations.
I would like to stress that Latvia and Germany are linked by geographical proximity, location in the Baltic Sea region, and historical ties. Both countries enjoy a long tradition of commerce that had begun even before the establishment of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages.
Germany was one of the first countries to renew diplomatic relations with Latvia in 1991. This year will mark the 28th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. That is a proof that our friendship is lasting. Since then, Germany has strongly supported Latvia in pursuing its foreign policy goals, that is, joining the European Union and NATO, participating in the Eurozone, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Latvia appreciates Germany’s consistent solidarity and support to Latvia and the Baltic States.
Germany is the second largest trading partner for Latvia, as well as an essential investor in the Latvian economy. I am delighted to note that both countries have long-standing and fruitful cooperation in transport, which is characterised by an excellent network of air traffic as well as active collaboration with German ports by providing efficient cargo and passenger flows. We are interested in continuing success by highlighting our interest in working with the Duisburg Port for the development of Eurasian land transport. With the most massive infrastructure project in the Baltic region, Rail Baltica, being developed, capacities of rail transport with the increase and the flow of passengers and cargo will expand into North-South direction by connecting Riga and Berlin as well. That infrastructure object can contribute to providing connectivity especially in terms of mobility challenges within NATO and the European Union pertaining to security issues.
I am very pleased that more and more German young people are choosing to study in Latvian higher education institutions after having evaluated the quality of higher education in Latvia. In their turn, sixty signed co-operation agreements confirm the mutual trust and interest of cooperation between local governments in Latvia and Germany.
I am fulfilled that the adoption of dual vocational education experience of Germany is executed successfully with the support of the German government in Latvia, and the interest of Latvian companies and educational institutions in this cooperation continues to boost. Germany is our good partner in sharing its experience.
Both Latvia and Germany advocate a strong, successful, and developed Europe and cooperate in solving the issues that are essential for Europe. Latvia appreciates Germany’s consistent solidarity and support for strengthening the security of the Baltic region, as it brings us closer to a common overall goal of peace and stability in Europe and in the world. It is both Baltic air-policing mission and sending a battle group to Lithuania within the framework of NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, as well as supporting the strengthening of independent, impartial, and professional mass media. The German military also engage actively in various military structures emerging in Latvia and in our neighbouring countries, Estonia and Lithuania.
During my visit, I will be in Hamburg and Lüneburg to discuss the Baltic German heritage and future. On Sunday, at the outstanding Elbe Philharmonic there will be a chance to familiarise and hear a joint performance of two wonderful Latvian artists, the composer and the organist, at a concert dedicated to the Centenary of Latvia. That will be our present to the excellent relations Latvia and Germany enjoy.
Both countries share successful cooperation in several areas and especially in those related to digital solutions, new technologies, innovation, science, and research. Therefore, the visit will offer an opportunity to entrepreneurs from Latvia and Germany to discuss those issues of cooperation. Collaborating in those areas can enhance the competitiveness of Latvia and Germany in global markets.
I am happy with the broad and content-rich agenda of the state visit. I am convinced that the excellent cooperation, which has developed between the Presidents of Latvia and Germany, exists among the representatives of executive power, business, and culture as well. Latvia and Germany as well as entire Europe and the world can benefit from excellent cooperation between our countries.