Press statement by President von der Leyen with Latvian Prime Minister Siliņa

Dear Prime Minister,

It is very nice to greet you here in Brussels. Congratulations once again on your appointment as Prime Minister of Latvia. I am very much looking forward to working with you. And this is the first step we are taking. Actually, there is a lot of work to do.

The first topic that I want to mention in our common work is your unwavering support to Ukraine. And I really want to thank you for that. Latvia has backed our successive waves of sanctions against Russia and our different financial aid packages for Ukraine. You have been a strong supporter from the very beginning. So, we are very grateful for that. European financial support remains, of course, a lifeline for this country – a country that is so bravely fighting for its freedom and for its future. This is why the Commission has proposed a new Facility for Ukraine in our proposal for a revision of the EU budget. You recall this, these are EUR 50 billion until 2027 as support for Ukraine. We have started the discussions in the European Union on that. Here too, I want to thank Latvia for the very constructive role that you are playing, driving forward these discussions on not only the Facility for Ukraine but the whole revision of the budget. It is money Ukraine needs now – and will continue to need in the future, for example for the reconstruction, for the recovery, but also for the reforms on its path to the European Union.

This brings me to another topic I am sure we will discuss today. That is the topic of enlargement. This is not only a call of history, but this is also a geopolitical necessity. We need to set a vision for successful enlargement. This is why the Commission has started working on a series of pre-enlargement policy reviews. It is basically the question on how our institutions, our budget, our security guarantees would work. I would be very eager to listen to your views on that one. Latvia is itself a shining example of successful integration – an integration that you continue to deepen, even almost 20 years after you joined the European family. For example, I am very glad that you are fast-forwarding by one year your synchronisation with the continental European grid. This fast-forwarding will disconnect you from Russia and Belarus, so it is good for your energy security. And it will also facilitate your uptake of renewable energy, to set the green transition fully in motion in Latvia. Here, NextGenerationEU, Europe's investment plan for the future, will of course support you on this path. We have just received your revised NextGenerationEU plan yesterday, including the REPowerEU chapter. It can certainly unleash significant additional resources for clean growth and good jobs. So let us work on that one together.

My final topic is migration. Europe continues to stand in full solidarity with you, because we have seen Belarus' cynical and inhuman instrumentalisation of migrants. Over the past years, we have deployed Frontex personnel and mobilised EUR 63 million in additional funding for border surveillance. We continue to closely monitor the situation at the border. These hybrid attacks carried out against our Member States are all the more reasons why we need a swift political agreement on two key proposals: The one is the Pact on Migration and Asylum, this is key to have the common rules in the European Union, and the other one is the revision of the multiannual EU budget, the so-called MFF, where we also have a top-up for migration.

So, we have a lot to discuss. It is all in preparation of the summits that are coming up – the European Political Community, then we have the informal Summit in Granada and afterwards we have the formal European Council here in Brussels.

Once again, a very warm welcome here in Brussels.