The President stressed energy solidarity at the Latvian summit-assistant

Latvia-visiting President Andrzej Duda emphasised the importance of solidarity in energy issues at Thursday’s Arraiolos meeting of 13 EU state presidents at Rundale Palace in the village of Pilsrundale.

Attending the meeting alongside Duda were the presidents of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia and Italy.

Duda aide Krzysztof Szczerski told PAP after the talks that Duda stressed the need for European solidarity in energy matters, observing that this meant states should not pursue particular interests at the community’s cost. Duda also advocated the continuation of Euro-Atlantic ties in military matters.

Szczerski said Duda also mentioned cyber threats, and stressed that in combating them governments needed the co-operation of civic society, as manipulated information and fake news “break down the social community.”

On the meeting’s sidelines Duda and Austrian state head Alexander Van der Bellen discussed the December COP24 summit in Katowice, southern Poland, and agreed on joint undertakings in preparing the meeting.

Duda and van der Bellen also spoke about Poland’s plans to raise a memorial to Polish King Jan III Sobieski on Vienna’s Kahlenberg Hill, from where in 1683 Sobieski set out at the head of an international army to defend the city from invading Turkish forces.

The project has been protested by Vienna authorities on grounds that the city already has several Sobieski memorial sites. Szczerski said Van der Bellen gave his assurance that the Polish side will have the final say on the Sobieski memorial.

In Latvia, Duda also spoke with Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, with whom he discussed a planned official visit to Malta early next year.

Initiated by former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, the annual Arraiolos meetings bring together state presidents who do not wield executive powers in their countries for a debate on current European affairs. The name stems from the Portuguese city in which the first meeting was held in 2003.

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