Latvia determined to safeguard rights of its citizens in UK in wake of Brexit vote
The Foreign Ministry had already warned earlier that a no-deal Brexit was a possibility and urged Latvia to prepare for this worst-case scenario. Uncertainty is so great now that it makes work on long-term strategies impossible, so there are no other options but to act according to the changeable situation, the foreign minister said.
RIGA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Responding to the British Parliament's rejection of the Brexit deal, Latvian officials on Wednesday voiced general disappointment about the outcome of the vote and vowed to do everything to protect the rights of Latvian citizens residing and working in the UK.
"I regret that British Parliament rejected #BREXIT deal. I hope that UK government will provide proposals for the way forward. The simple truth is that both UK and Europe need each other and we must work together to get through this rather complex situation," Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics wrote on Twitter after British MPs on Tuesday voted down the UK's EU Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The rejection of May's Brexit plan was not a surprise, what was surprising was the high number of lawmakers voting against it, the Latvian Foreign Ministry's Parliamentary Secretary, Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica, said on public radio on Wednesday.
The first of these bills would ensure UK citizens' right to stay and work in Latvia, with the UK expected to respond by passing similar legislation regarding Latvians in the UK.
She said that great chaos was likely to ensue in the case of the hard or no-deal Brexit, as it would affect not only migration but trade as well. Kalnina-Lukasevica said that Latvia had been preparing for this scenario for a while already and that crisis management was already in place, meaning that a number of laws have already been drafted so they can be quickly passed if needed.
Foreign Minister Rinkevics also said in an interview with LNT TV channel that Latvia would be prepared to protect the rights of its citizens and entrepreneurs in case of any scenario.
The Brexit deal that was reached and considered optimal both for Latvia and the EU has effectively failed, Rinkevics admitted.