On the second and third day of Luxembourg's State visit to Latvia, the economic delegation intensified talks with their host country and visited a rehab centre west of Riga.

Economic partnerships expanded

20 companies from Luxembourg and 50 companies from Latvia met at a conference in Riga. "We have €90 million in trade with Latvia," said Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot. Although still much less than Lithuania (€236 million) and Estonia (€234 million) in 2021, the figure is growing.

There is a lot of potential in forestry and the wood industry, said Fayot. As half of Latvia is covered by trees, and the demand for wood managed sustainably in Luxembourg is high, this could become a thriving market.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg could support Estonia with digital technology. "We have a company in Luxembourg that can scan an entire forest," explains Carlo Thelen, General Director of the Chamber of Commerce. "This is interesting for climate change as well as the sale of wood. The robot can analyse the state of the trees and decide, whether they are more suited as furniture or firewood."

Latvia, too, invests into digitalisation and cybersecurity. However both countries are stuck with the same bottleneck: a shortage in qualified personnel.

War in Ukraine close at home

On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn and Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot visited "Vaivari", a rehabilitation centre west of the capital. The delegation was touched especially by the accounts of three Ukrainian soldiers, who were here for treatment.

"All three were injured. One soldier lost his leg. The other had severe injuries to their arms. One of them even has family in Luxembourg. A coincidence that shows how close the war is to home," said the Grand Duke.

The destroyed Russian tank outside the Russian Embassy in Riga has become somewhat of a tourist attraction.

"We are in a country that invested 1% of its GDP into helping Ukraine. The thought in Latvia is that if Ukraine doesn't have the means to defend itself, Latvia could be next. Even though I do not believe Putin would attack a NATO country. But other countries in the region, like Georgia or Moldova, are risking the same fate as Ukraine," said minister Jean Asselborn.