On Wednesday, 5 September, during the Committee meeting, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Chairperson of the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima, stressed: “During the six months of the Cyprus presidency, regarding the distribution of EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework for 2012-2020, Latvia has to focus on four specific priorities: maintaining cohesion funding at least in the current amount, increasing direct payments of the common agricultural policy, financing in the field of transport, and seeking investment opportunities for research and science in Latvia”.
Today, members of the European Affairs Committee, line ministers, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had a meeting at the Saeima in order to agree on further action regarding the presidency of Cyprus in the EU Council. Participants of the meeting heard an informative report prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on priorities of Latvia’s government during the Cyprus presidency.
Kalniņa-Lukaševica noted: “The European Affairs Committee has already agreed with its social partners on the need for a set of Latvia’s priorities in the EU. The informative report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and today’s discussion lay the foundation for further work by the Committee and the government, as well as by the diplomatic and non-governmental sectors, aimed at implementing Latvia’s interests during the six months of the Cyprus presidency.
In June, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, presented a report on closer integration of the Economic and Monetary Union. So far, the key elements for this integration have been identified, including an integrated framework of financial, fiscal and economic policy, as well as greater involvement of the European Parliament and national parliaments in the decision-making process. Kalniņa-Lukaševica stressed that the European Affairs Committee will discuss Van Rompuy’s report already in September: “This report will be the central item on the EU Council’s agenda during the Cyprus presidency. Because of the consequences of the crisis, we have to seek new ways of improving the Economic and Monetary Union. The recovery of the EU economy will directly influence Latvia’s economic situation and its export volumes.”
When discussing Latvia’s priorities during the Cyprus presidency, MP Ivars Zariņš (Concord Centre) also emphasised that Latvia has to focus on the most significant priorities and achieve the most favourable results for Latvia. Zariņš highlighted the cross-border cooperation platform in education, technologies, and innovations (BIRTI) as being the most direct route to steady development of research infrastructure throughout the EU, including Latvia.
Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on the priorities of Latvian government during the Cyprus presidency in the EU Council and stressed that along with the new multi-annual financial framework there are several other very important issues – e.g., sustainable economic growth and financial stability, as well as energy and transport policies. As a result of its active work during the Danish presidency, Latvia succeeded in introducing several important provisions in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) regulations, such as provisions regarding inclusion of connections with the ports of Riga and Ventspils, as well as Riga Airport, provisions regarding the Ventspils-Riga branch of the Baltic-Adriatic transport corridor, and inclusion of the West-East Corridor among the CEF priorities.
MP Dzintars Rasnačs (National Alliance of All for Latvia! and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) noted that although the informative report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refers to Latvia’s achievements regarding energy and transport policy during the Danish presidency, it must be emphasised that during the Cyprus presidency, the Rail Baltica project will be one of Latvia’s priorities.
Saeima Press Service