On Friday, 13 January, the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima supported the national position On the International Treaty on a Reinforced Economic Union, which explains Latvia’s views on drafting the new Treaty of the European Union (EU).
“The European Union is actively drafting a treaty on stricter fiscal discipline and a mechanism for governance of the euro area. Although the new treaty will directly affect us only after we introduce the euro, our government has to make sure that provisions crucial for Latvia are included already in the drafting process,” pointed out Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Chairperson of the European Affairs Committee.
It is planned to draft the new EU treaty by the end of January. The new treaty is supposed to set forth that the EU member states are permitted to draft a deficit budget only as an exception. The treaty will also require national laws to include provisions on fiscal discipline, as well as to establish a special mechanism for the euro area’s governance, explained to MPs Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Minister stressed that the mechanism currently being drafted is quite flexible, and it is not planned either to strengthen the Maastricht criteria or to require the national budgets to be coordinated with the European Commission. After the EU member states objected, the requirement to include provisions on fiscal discipline in their constitutions was also removed. Edgars Rinkēvičs presumed that political agreement on the wording of the treaty could be reached in the European Council meeting on 30 January.
As the wording of the treaty is currently being drafted, Latvia is prepared to reiterate its objections to changes in the Maastricht criteria and the lack of flexibility in the proposed mechanism; the treaty should ensure that the European Commission’s infringement proceedings are commensurate to the gravity of infringements. Latvia also attaches a lot of importance to having a single reporting system in order to avoid overlapping of administrative and bureaucratic regulations.
While reviewing the draft national position, the Committee considered putting the international treaty on the agenda of a Saeima plenary sitting and to closely examine the comments that the Cabinet of Ministers made on each article of the draft treaty.
Saeima Press Service