On Friday, 25 November, at its 30th Session the Baltic Assembly (BA) adopted a Resolution in which the parliamentarians of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia call for developing a fair Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) and for no reduction of cohesion funds which would decrease opportunities to even regional development programmes and would endanger successfully launched investment programmes.
“All the Baltic parliamentarians agreed that the proposed direct payment program is inadequate, and we will not accept it. In the distribution of direct payments, significant differences between the highest and lowest level of direct payments should be eliminated as of 2014,” emphasises Raimonds Vējonis, Head of the Latvian delegation to the BA.
The Resolution points out that since 2004 the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian farmers have been receiving the lowest level of direct payments; therefore, the BA invites the EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission to establish such a direct payment system that would ensure truly fair and equitable competition conditions for all farmers of the EU.
The BA also invites the EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission to provide adequate funding for both direct payments and rural development policy in order to promote sustainable development of agriculture and rural development within the European Union.
Regarding the Cohesion Policy of the European Union, the parliamentarians of the BA regret that the European Commission in its Communication proposes to cap the Cohesion policy allocation at 2.5% of the gross national income (GNI), which will result in a considerable reduction of existing and potential public and private investments in convergence countries.
The BA invites the EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission to keep providing adequate financing for development programmes and infrastructure in convergence countries so as not to endanger successfully launched and effectively functioning investment programmes.
“One of the goals of the EU is to reduce the level of development disparities among different regions. We will not allow Brussels to forget this principle,” says Raimons Vējonis. He notes that Latvia is one of the countries which has used the cohesion funds most successfully.
The BA Resolution also appeals for facilitating cooperation among the Baltic States in the area of economy by focusing on innovation and a common tax policy, as well as cooperation within the EU. Regarding development of a sustainable energy market, the BA calls for developing projects which would diversify energy sources and types, as well as for developing a common long-term Baltic energy strategy.
The Baltic Assembly is an inter-parliamentary cooperation organisation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania established for coordinating the Baltic States' cooperation on the parliamentary level, discussing issues and projects of mutual interest and expressing a common position on political, economic, social and cultural issues on the EU and international level. The Baltic Assembly consists of national delegations – 12 to 20 members from each country’s parliament.
Saeima Press Service