Solvita Āboltiņa: EU Presidency is Latvia’s opportunity to set the EU agenda


Latvia’s Presidency of the European Union (EU) in 2015 is our country’s opportunity to be noticed and to promote our interests in setting the EU agenda. Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, emphasised this on Wednesday, 9 May, at the presentation in the Saeima of the publication “Latvia’s Interests in the European Union”, which is dedicated to the opportunities of small countries to be heard and to affect decisions at the EU level.

Āboltiņa expressed her satisfaction that the discussion about the representation of our country’s interests in the EU takes place on Europe Day – the day 62 years ago on which the first cornerstone for the founding of the European Union was laid. “Today peace, solidarity, unity, human rights and fundamental freedoms seem self-evident, but 60 years ago the founding fathers of European integration offered them as an unprecedented vision which meant a major paradigm shift,” the Speaker of the Saeima said. Āboltiņa also pointed out that our country still needs a brave vision for the future and ambitious goals in order for it to successfully realise its interests in the EU.

The Speaker of the Saeima reminded the audience that the issue of whether we will lose our identity and whether we will be able to successfully defend our interests was especially topical before our accession to the EU. “Today we can say that it is not easy. Whether Latvia as a small country will be noticed and heard in the European Union depends on ourselves,” Āboltiņa said, stressing that it is important to begin preparations for the presidency in a timely manner.

The Speaker noted that as the presiding country, Latvia not only will have to demonstrate its professionalism and abilities but also remind others that the EU is a project created by us Europeans; it is a project based on a set of strong values fixed in the Schuman Declaration of 1950, namely, peace, security and the rule of law.

“Undoubtedly, while the government bears most of the responsibility for the EU presidency, the parliament can work more freely and creatively. Our discussion today can open a strategic debate forum for sharing opinions on the EU presidency and generating ideas on the future of the European Union and Latvia’s place in it,” Āboltiņa pointed out.

Professor Žaneta Ozoliņa, scientific editor of the publication that was presented in the Saeima today, was pleased that the event was held in the parliament. Ozoliņa acknowledged that of all the power structures, the parliament is the most suitable one for hosting an exchange in bold and sometimes even risky ideas that may later turn into political decisions.

Toms Rostoks, Associate Professor at the University of Latvia, gave a presentation on the opportunities and challenges that small EU member states face. He advocated the use of the smart state strategy which is based on the capacity to divide efforts and to focus on top priorities, to choose the most appropriate moment for affecting decision making, to act in concert and to use channels of influence at all levels, as well as to avoid excess in protecting one’s national interests.

Photos from the event are available at:
Video from the event is available at:
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Saeimas Preses dienests

Trešdien, 19.jūnijā
08:45  Saeimas priekšsēdētājas biedres, Saeimas deputātu grupas sadarbības veicināšanai ar Vācijas parlamentu vadītājas Zandas Kalniņas-Lukaševicas, Saeimas Aizsardzības, iekšlietu un korupcijas novēršanas komisijas priekšsēdētāja Raimonda Bergmaņa un komisijas deputātu tikšanās ar Vācijas Federatīvās Republikas Bundestāga Aizsardzības komisijas delegāciju
09:00  Pieprasījumu komisijas sēde
09:00  Eiropas lietu komisijas sēde
10:00  Ārlietu komisijas sēde
10:00  Budžeta un finanšu (nodokļu) komisijas sēde
10:00  Juridiskās komisijas sēde
10:00  Cilvēktiesību un sabiedrisko lietu komisijas sēde
10:00  Izglītības, kultūras un zinātnes komisijas sēde
10:00  Aizsardzības, iekšlietu un korupcijas novēršanas komisijas sēde
10:00  Valsts pārvaldes un pašvaldības komisijas sēde
10:00  Tautsaimniecības, agrārās, vides un reģionālās politikas komisijas sēde
11:00  Ārlietu komisijas sēde
12:00  Mandātu, ētikas un iesniegumu komisijas sēde
12:00  Publisko izdevumu un revīzijas komisijas sēde
12:00  Nacionālās drošības komisijas sēde
12:00  Pilsonības, migrācijas un sabiedrības saliedētības komisijas sēde
13:10  Ārlietu komisijas Baltijas lietu apakškomisijas sēde
15:00  Saeimas Tautsaimniecības, agrārās, vides un reģionālās politikas komisijas un Klimata un enerģētikas ministrijas rīkotā diskusija “Latvijas enerģētikas izaicinājumi 2050. gadam”
15:30  Cilvēktiesību un sabiedrisko lietu komisijas Mediju politikas apakškomisijas sēde
18:30  Saeimas priekšsēdētājas V.E. Daigas Mieriņas rīkotie dārza svētki par godu Latvijā rezidējošajam diplomātiskajam korpusam