Without joining, we would still be in Russia’s zone of influence / Article

Without joining, we would still be in Russia’s zone of influence / Article
Without joining, we would still be in Russia’s zone of influence / Article

Vīke-Freiberga on Latvia’s 20 years in the European Union: Without joining the EU, we would still be in the zone of Russian influence

Politicians who played an important role in the enlargement process 20 years ago have gathered in Strasbourg to celebrate this day, including former President of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

In a conversation with Latvijas Radio, she stated that without joining the European Union (EU), Latvia would still be in Russia’s zone of influence.

“Then we would be like Moldova, where fate hangs in the balance and which can be expected every day to have a Russian-backed coup. If not exactly an invasion, then at least an organized takeover from Transnistria. We would be in a complete sphere of Russian influence – catastrophically abandoned on the outskirts of Europe, not as part of this union,” said Vīke-Freiberga.

Meanwhile, the then president of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, said that enlargement had brought benefits to all of Europe and should continue.

“Of course there have been problems, but at the end of the day we know that enlargement has been very successful in its essence. It has brought more prosperity and more solidarity and a sense of belonging. Before, people feel left out because history separated Eastern Europe from the European Union. The will of the people, which was expressed in the referendums, opened the door and brought them back together. I think it is possible and desirable to do it again,” said Cox.

Although the EU has provided Latvia with security and financial support in the implementation of various projects, some of the opportunities offered by it have still not been used, and the former State President evaluated it critically.

“The fact that we have not used all the opportunities that EU membership has given us is, in my opinion, the biggest criticism that I would have for the Latvian people and the administrative system, and for the politicians who have been active for the past 20 years. We hear again and again that large funds are available, but we need projects that meet European requirements, and we don’t have those projects ready,” she said.

Latvia received the invitation to start accession negotiations for membership in the European Union in 1999 at the Helsinki European Council, but on December 13, 2002, during the Copenhagen meeting of the EU Council, Latvia together with 9 other countries officially completed accession negotiations to the EU.

The agreement on Latvia’s accession to the EU was signed on April 16, 2003 in Athens, but it became a member state on May 1, 2004.

On this day, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia also became full members of the EU.

The article is in Latvian

Tags: joining Russias zone influence Article


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