On Tuesday, 31 July, at the main building of the Saeima, the Speaker of the Saeima met with the heads of Latvia’s diplomatic missions and noted that Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2015 will be one of the most significant challenges for the state in the near future.
“Latvia’s presidency has to be a wise presidency; the list of priorities has to be compact and specific; at the same time, it must ensure a balance between national and European interests. We have to keep in mind our priorities; however, the presidency cannot be successful unless it contributes to the EU’s development and strengthens its position in the global arena,” Āboltiņa emphasised. She also stated that in April the first meeting of the Steering Committee for planning the parliamentary dimension of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union was held at the Saeima.
The Speaker stressed that during the EU’s presidency, parliaments are free to be more creative; therefore, the Saeima has already held several discussions on priorities of the presidency. “We have laid a foundation for strategic debates which allow us not only to exchange our viewpoints on the presidency but also to form a broader concept of the future of the EU and Latvia’s role in it,” said Āboltiņa.
With regard to cooperation in shaping and implementing foreign policy, Speaker Āboltiņa indicated that even small countries which have limited resources can achieve great results, and Latvia has proved it on numerous occasions. “During my visits abroad, I have visited embassies and seen that despite limited resources our diplomats can not only ensure the basic functions of diplomatic missions but also achieve victories for our state, to put it in Olympic terminology. By pooling our efforts we can achieve results such as the election of Nils Muižnieks as Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, the outcome of the Chicago Summit, and a recent visit to Latvia by Hillary Clinton,” said the Speaker.
Solvita Āboltiņa thanked the ambassadors for their cooperation and contribution in defending Latvia’s interests; she also reminded them that this is the second time that the Saeima has organised such a meeting which provides an opportunity to discuss and strengthen joint future plans in an informal atmosphere.
The Speaker noted that during the last six months the Saeima has held several events devoted to foreign policy, including a discussion in which NGOs and foreign affairs experts participated, as well as several foreign affairs debates which have become one of the most significant items on the foreign affairs agenda of our state.
Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Affairs Committee, as well as the heads of parliamentary groups and other line committees, were also invited to meet with the heads of Latvia’s diplomatic missions.
Photos from the meeting are available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157630836970704/
When using the material, please give credit to the Saeima Chancellery.
Saeima Press Service