MPs request increased cohesion funding for Latvia in the EU budget


On Thursday, 28 July, the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima adopted the national position emphasising the need to increase by 20 percent the amount of cohesion funding available to Latvia in the next multi-annual financial framework of the European Union. MPs supported this supplement to Latvia’s initial national position, which has been approved by the government, regarding the multi-annual budget framework of the European Union for 2014–2020 that will be discussed at the informal meeting of ministers and secretaries of state for European affairs held on 28 – 29 July in Sopot (Poland).

“The national position was to request that the current level of cohesion funding for our state be maintained; however, the majority of the Committee supported the proposal to request an increase in the amount. This principle should also be reflected in future positions drafted by the government,” indicated Staņislavs Šķesters, Deputy Chairman of the Committee. He explained that this approach would give greater room for manoeuvring when defending Latvia’s interests. “During discussions, great emphasis also should be put on adjusting the amount of direct payments and funding for rural development,” said Šķesters.

Dana Reizniece-Ozola, member of the Committee, urged Latvia’s spokespersons to actively defend its national interests in order to ensure that rural development and fisheries receive funding which is at least at the current level.

Marģers Krams, special envoy on EU budget matters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported that the draft multi-annual financial framework of the EU for 2014–2020 is in keeping with the strategy Europe 2020 - the EU’s strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth - and the current amount of the EU budget is estimated at 1.05 percent of the EU’s GNI. In comparison to the existing framework, the total amount of the budget is larger; however, due to the current economic situation, it is expected that member states will pressure the EU to make budget cuts, said Krams.

The special envoy explained that in addition to the cohesion policy, Latvia is also interested in more honest and just distribution of direct payments in agriculture among member states. Latvia stresses the need for immediate equalisation of direct payments without setting any transition period. Furthermore, Latvia supports specifying minimum and maximum levels of funding in order to reduce payments to countries which receive payments that are significantly higher than the EU average, explained Krams.

The European Commission presented a draft multi-annual financial framework of the EU on 29 June 2011. First discussions on the draft budget will begin at the end of July, and they will be devoted to presenting the member states’ initial positions; preparatory work will continue till the end of this year. Discussions on content will continue throughout 2012. The final agreement between the European Parliament and the member states on the actual financial framework is expected to be reached by the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013.


Saeima Press Service

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