Foreign Affairs Committee expresses conceptual support for ratification of EU Fiscal Compact


On Wednesday, 9 May, the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima supported the proposal that the draft law with which Latvia is to ratify the so-called Fiscal Compact of the European Union (EU) be reviewed in the first reading. The Committee also came to an agreement that the ratification process shall require a two-thirds majority.

The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee took a unanimous decision that the ratification in the Saeima of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union shall require a two-thirds majority at a plenary sitting in which at least two-thirds of all MPs are present. According to Article 68 of the Constitution, this procedure of a constitutional majority vote is to be used in ratifying international agreements by which the state delegates a part of its competences to international institutions.

When evaluating the significance of the Treaty, which has been signed by 25 EU member states, Ojārs Kalniņš, Chairman of the Committee, emphasised that with the ratification of the Treaty, Latvia will send a clear signal to the EU that other member states must also adhere to the fiscal discipline that our state is successfully implementing. MP Valdis Zatlers (Zatler’s Reform Party) stressed that the ratification of the Treaty will prove that Latvia’s responsible fiscal policy has long-term goals.

MP Atis Lejiņš (Unity), urging colleagues to support the ratification of the Treaty, remarked that Latvia has already delegated a large part of its competence on economic issues to the EU by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty; therefore, the new Fiscal Compact does not introduce much change in this area. The only important addition is the inclusion of a quantitative indicator – the structural deficit – into the text of the Treaty.

MP Iveta Grigule (Union of Greens and Farmers) argued against ratifying the Treaty in haste and therefore abstained from voting at the Committee meeting. Grigule noted that her parliamentary group was about to discuss this issue with Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis in order to find out why the ratification is necessary right now in view of the fact that this new EU treaty will be binding on Latvia only after it joins the euro area.

Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs, told the MPs that so far the Fiscal Compact has been ratified by three member states – Greece, Portugal and Slovenia – and that Ireland will hold a referendum on it on 31 May in accordance with its constitution. Most of the other 25 member states that have signed the Treaty will submit it to their parliaments for ratification. The Minister for Foreign Affairs added that in order for the new Treaty to come into force, it has to be ratified by at least 12 members of the euro area.

The Saeima still has to review the Draft Law on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in two readings.

Saeima Press Service

Trešdien, 19.jūnijā
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