Baltic states skeptical about new Brexit negotiations

EU and UK flags.
EU and UK flags. Source: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto/ZUMA Press/Scanpix

The Baltic states are skeptical about reopening talks on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, Baltic leaders said at a press conference in Riga on Monday.

A meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers, which took place in Riga on Monday, brought together Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Estonian Ambassador to Latvia Arti Hilpus, standing in for Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), who was unable to attend as his aircraft was turned around due to bad weather.

The prime ministers and Mr Hilpus dismissed rumours that the UK has approached the Baltic states with the request to call for an extension of the Brexit negotiations, saying that no such request exists.

Mr Kariņš said that the UK has not approached Latvia about the issue. He is also skeptical about the likelihood of reaching a new agreement, the BNS wrote on Monday.

"It took two years to reach the existing agreement on Brexit. It would be good to find a new agreement, for instance on Ireland, but I'm skeptical. I do not think that a good solution can be found in such a short time," Mr Kariņš said.

"Latvia sees the UK's withdrawal from the EU as something bad, because the UK is our strategic partner, but we need to think about the 27 remaining member states. Europe must stick together on Brexit," he added.

The Lithuanian prime minister stressed that the talks on the UK's withdrawal from the EU are over. Two years of hard work couldn't be replaced with last-minute proposals or decisions. There will be no new talks, the decisions that have been taken have to be implemented, Skvernelis said.

Ambassador Hilpus added that if the UK comes up with good arguments as to why the Brexit talks should be extended, EU leaders would have to make a decision.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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