Speaker Mieriņa to President of the European Parliament: 20 years in the European Union have promoted Latvia’s growth and strengthened the EU

(12.01.2024.)
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“This year, along with several other countries, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our accession to the European Union. It was a significant development in Latvia’s growth. But our accession has also strengthened the European Union. A strong European Union is in the interests of Latvia. We will continue to be an active and relevant Member State in building an increasingly strong and secure Europe,” said Daiga Mieriņa, Speaker of the Saeima, on Friday, 12 January, meeting with the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.

Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica and Antoņina Ņenaševa, Deputy Speakers of the Saeima, Edvards Smiltēns, Secretary of the Saeima, as well as Jānis Grasbergs, Deputy Secretary of the Saeima, also participated in the meeting with the President of the European Parliament.

“With each elections to the European Parliament, the turnout seems to be rather low. How do we change this? We must have a clear and coherent long-term strategy for Europe so that people can see the real benefits against what the populists have to offer,” said Speaker Mieriņa.

The parties discussed possibilities to promote participation in the elections to be held in June, in particular, among young people. President Metsola stressed the need to change the wide-spread scepticism in society about the importance of their vote, and to counteract the tsunami of populism, highlighting the tangible benefits of the membership in the European Union.

President Metsola underlined that the upcoming European Parliament elections can be seen as an investment in our joint future, as important decisions are to be taken that affect us all. If the people of Latvia do not want to leave the decision-making in the hands of someone else, then on 8 June everyone must vote. In previous elections to the European Parliament, the activity in Latvia was relatively low – voter turnout was only 33 per cent, while in the European Union the average turnout surpassed 50 per cent.

“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of European democracy. It is of the utmost importance that our citizens exercise their democratic rights and exercise them responsibly. Today we are more conscious than ever that freedom cannot be taken for granted,” emphasised Speaker Mieriņa, adding that democracy and our values can be fortified by strengthening the trust of our citizens in democratic institutions.

Latvia is no longer a newcomer Member State, and has evolved into an important driver of discussions, like the rest of the Baltic States, said President Metsola, highlighting Latvia’s leadership on the issue of support for Ukraine. President Metsola thanked everyone in Latvia for helping Ukraine. The parties agreed on the need to continue to provide both military and financial support to Ukraine and also addressed the issue of sanctions against Russia and confiscation of its frozen assets.

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Saeima Press Service

Svētdien, 19.maijā