During the spring session the European Affairs Committee focused on the situation in Ukraine and the 10th anniversary of Latvia’s membership in the European Union

(30.06.2014.)
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When looking back at the spring session of the Saeima, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Chairperson of the European Affairs Committee, indicated: “During the spring session, the European Affairs Committee focused on issues such as the situation in Ukraine, the 10th anniversary of Latvia’s membership in the European Union, and youth employment in Europe.”

“The spring session of the Saeima started at significant time, namely, on the 10th anniversary of Latvia’s membership in the European Union. In honour of this event, we organised a conference in the parliament in which we recalled and assessed Latvia’s achievements and benefits from our membership in the European Union during this period,” informed the Chairperson of the Committee.

“Ten key words which best describe benefits from Latvia’s membership in the European Union over the last ten years are rural development, dynamics, the euro, growth, entrepreneurship, green environment, knowledge, open borders, influence and participation. However, I believe that the decision made by the citizens of Latvia to join the European Union was based primarily on the desire to return to Europe and only secondarily on various practical benefits,” said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

During the spring session, just as during the winter session, the European Affairs Committee devoted close attention to the situation in Ukraine. With regard to planned activities during the recess, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica stated that “in order to demonstrate our solidarity with Ukraine in person and to respond to the invitation extended by the Committee for European Integration of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, a delegation of the European Affairs Committee is planning to visit Kiev in July.”  She noted that this visit will also contribute to Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2015, which inter alia will focus on the Eastern Partnership and the situation in Ukraine.

Increasing youth employment in Europe was another priority of the European Affairs Committee during the spring session. The Chairperson emphasised: “During the last COSAC meeting held in Athens within the framework of the Hellenic presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Affairs Committee of the Latvian parliament shared its experience on implementing the Youth Guarantee initiative in Latvia. Latvia is among pioneers in implementing this initiative.”

Since the beginning of the spring session, the European Affairs Committee has been conducting subsidiarity checks on draft legislation of the European Union, namely, it has been assessing whether the goals of draft European Union legislation can be reached on a lower level through national legislation. “During this session we conducted a subsidiarity check on the proposal for establishing a touring visa and although we concluded that, in general, the proposal of the European Commission complies with the principle of subsidiarity, in our letter to the European Commission we indicated the need to establish clearer criteria for issuing touring visas,” said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

The Chairperson also reported that during the recess the European Affairs Committee will continue to work actively because the Committee has to adopt Latvia’s national positions prior to a number of upcoming Council meetings.

 

Interview (in Latvian) with the Chairperson of the European Affairs Committee is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFKZwZ3qQbI
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Saeima Press Service

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