Ministru Kabinets

M. Kučinskis: Market-shaping innovations often originate directly in small companies

On Wednesday 16 May, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis participated in an informal European Council meeting in Sofia, where, together with the other EU Heads of State and Government, discussed the issues important for the EU - innovations, the US trade-restricting measures, as well as the US statement on withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and readiness to work with the EU partners on a new agreement to address the issues highlighted by the US under the JCPOA.

With regard to the EU’s innovation policy, Latvia looks forward to the development of the innovation ecosystem in the EU. The European Innovation Council (EIC) could be one of its elements. It is essential for the EIC to complement national level activities. In this address to the EU Heads of State and Government, M. Kučinskis pointed out that innovations, which change the operation of the market at an initial stage, often arise directly in smaller projects and companies. "We often speak about the European value added. I believe that the international dimension created by the EU-level support is of special relevance for small players," said M. Kučinskis.

With regard to the US trade-restricting measures, Latvia believes that the EU should do its utmost to avoid further escalation of the issue of increased US tariffs for steel and aluminum. At the same time, the EU has the right to defend its economic interests in this matter. Appropriate solutions need to be found to prevent potential damage to the EU economy.

On 8 March 2018, the Unites States decided to raise the import tariffs for steel and aluminum on the grounds of national security considerations. The United States extended the exemption for the EU on 30 April this year, and will not apply the increased import tariffs for steel and aluminum of the EU origin until 1 June (formerly until 1 May), and the US has confirmed that this will be the last extension, despite the fact that the US recognizes the EU as an important security partner.

The informal European Council meeting held in the capital city of Bulgaria also focused on the situation that emerged following the announcement by the US President Donald Tramp on 8 May 2018 regarding the withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015 and readiness to work with the EU partners on a new arrangement to resolve the issues highlighted by the United States within the JCPOA framework.

Latvia believes that, in accordance with the joint statement issued by the EU, we express our support to the further implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on restricting Iran's nuclear program. The JCPOA is an essential tool not only for curbing Iran's nuclear program and reducing tensions in the Middle East, but also for strengthening global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.

Latvia also notes that there should be clarity as soon as possible on the issue of sanctions against Iran to avoid uncertainty in the business environment.


Andrejs Vaivars
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
Phone: 29228678; E-mail: Andrejs.Vaivars@mk.gov.lv