Political parties represented in the 11th Saeima sign agreement on preparation and implementation of Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the EU


Taking into consideration that Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the beginning of 2015 will be of national importance and that it will involve not only the government but also cooperation between the legislature and the executive power, on Thursday, 19 December, the political parties represented in the 11th Saeima signed an agreement on the preparation and implementation of Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.

“This will be a period of national importance, a wonderful opportunity for Latvia to prove itself as a serious political player capable of long-term thinking about national, as well as European, interests. The success of the presidency is the responsibility of both the legislature and the executive power; therefore, I am glad that the political parties currently represented in the Saeima have shown their good will by signing an inter-party agreement, thus attesting their readiness to cooperate for the sake of attaining a common goal,” said Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima.

“Today, by agreeing to work together and keeping in mind the need to ensure the continuity of this endeavour even after the election of the 12th Saeima, Latvia has ensured that it can prepare for its presidency in a timely and proper manner, as well as hold open public discussions on its priorities, planned events and issues that we will pursue on the EU agenda in 2015. This will allow the public, social partners and non-governmental organisations to participate in the work of the presidency,” noted Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Chairperson of the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima. 

The agreement provides for adherence to several basic guidelines regarding Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union; for example, it stipulates that the parliamentary dimension of the presidency is a group of events of national importance which shall be implemented effectively and collegially regardless of whether the parliamentary groups of the relevant political parties are in the government or the opposition. Also, these events shall not be impeded by political competition in the pre-election period or by shifts in the proportional representation of political parties. 

The agreement envisages that in the preparation and implementation of the presidency, it is necessary to seek harmony, succession and continuity of decisions and that political parties represented in the Saeima should publicly discuss the priorities and objectives of the presidency by taking into consideration the general obligations and interests arising from Latvia’s membership in the European Union in order to achieve as wide public awareness and support as possible. 

The document states that political parties represented in the Saeima should invite representatives of local governments and NGOs to discuss the priorities and the intended results of the presidency; the schedule of parliamentary events and topics of parliamentary meetings should be approved by the European Affairs Committee and the Presidium of the Saeima in a timely manner. 

Furthermore, the agreement stipulates that the committees of the 11th Saeima should undertake preparation of the agenda of parliamentary committee meetings during the presidency; that in doing so, they should take into consideration priorities of the presidency, topical issues in EU policy, programme of the presidency trio and topics of events planned for the presidency by the government; and that they should assess each committee’s ability to provide the necessary expertise.

The agreement also envisions that the competence and ability to achieve the goals and fulfill the needs of the presidency will be the key criteria in deciding on the composition of committees of the Saeima to be elected in 2014. The agreement further states that contacts of political parties elected to the Saeima with kindred political groups in the parliaments of the other two members of the presidency trio, namely, Italy and Luxembourg, as well as in the European Parliament, can facilitate better understanding of issues pertaining to the presidency and successful implementation of events planned within the parliamentary dimension. 

The agreement was signed by Solvita Āboltiņa on behalf of the Unity, Valērijs Agešins on behalf of the Concorde Centre, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica on behalf of the Reform Party, Gaidis Bērziņš on behalf of the National Alliance All for Latvia! – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK, Augusts Brigmanis on behalf of the Union of Greens and Farmers, Jānis Junkurs on behalf of the group of unaffiliated MPs and by two other unaffiliated MPs – Inga Bite and Dāvis Stalts.

Photos from the agreement signing ceremony: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157638825241833/

Saeima Press Service

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