Outgoing Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš called on Europe to let member countries without a history as colonial overlords handle the crucial but often tense diplomatic relations with countries across Africa, Asia and South America.
“The countries that were formerly colonized may not necessarily care for the advice of the former colonies. Certainly in Latvia, we can understand this,” he said during a video interview from Riga.
During a recent EU summit with Latin American countries “I realised that, actually, their perception of Europe was often a little bit like the Baltics’ perception of Russia,” he said. In the same vein, Kariņš also compared the view that former French colonies can have of Paris, to the perception Latvians have of Moscow. “I suppose to … an old French colony, those people listening to what the French president has to say, may seem similar to a Latvian listening to what Putin has to say,” he argued.
In a sign of a potential shift in the coordination of emerging economies, a meeting this week of the group of the five BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) announced that six other countries would join the club.
Kariņš announced his resignation earlier this month, citing disagreements with coalition partners. While declining to elaborate on his future plans, the outgoing leader didn’t rule himself out from the race for EU top jobs next year.
Born and raised in the United States, Kariņš is among the few European heads of government with significant experience living and working outside the country he leads.
A well-respected figure within the center-right European People’s Party, he spent a decade as a member of the European Parliament before becoming Latvia’s prime minister in 2019.
As Europe gears up for an election next year, the longtime Latvian politician’s name could emerge as a contender for a top post.
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