10.07.2019. 16:07

Latvia’s priorities for the European Union agenda in 2019

The first half of 2019 will see continuing discussions on the EU future to be concluded at the informal meeting of EU heads of state or government in Sibiu, Romania, on 9 May. The event will also launch preparations for the Council of the EU new Strategic Agenda 2919–2024 to be adopted at the European Council on 20–21 June. Latvia’s position on the strategic agenda is being formulated.

2019 will mark the transition to a new intitutional cycle: in May, the new composition of the European Parliament will be elected; in autumn, the new President of the European Commission will be appointed and the new European Commission set up; and toward the end of the year, the new President of the  European Council will be elected. It is essential, therefore, for Latvia that continuity be ensured.

1.      Brexit

An orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU is in Latvia’s interests. Meanwhile, preparations are under way for various withdrawal scenarios. It is essential for Latvia that the rights of Latvian citizens living in the United Kingdom be safeguarded and the United Kingdom honour its financial commitments to the EU.

2.      EU Multiannual Financial Framework

It would be important for Latvia that a timely agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework is reached to enable starting the planning and implementation of the new period programmes on time. Latvia will continue protecting its interests, standing up in particular for the financing of the Cohesion Policy to an appropriate extent. Latvia will also make every effort to ensure a strong Common Agricultural Policy that responds to the present-day challenges and is appropriately financed.

3.      The Single Market and its digitalisation

The EU Single Market is a high priority for Latvia, and we will actively stand up for an ambitious liegilation harmonised to the widest extent, as well as the removal of the remaining obstacles and barriers, especially in the services sector. It is essential for Latvia to complete work on the remaining proposals for the Digital Single Market Strategy and to continue working on the Cybersecurity package proposals.

It is time for promotion of the digital transformation of industry and governance, namely, an even broader use of artificial intelligence technologies. Latvia fully supports the build-up of the EU’s social dimension; consequently, it is essential to find balanced compromises and finalise work on the relevant legislation.

4.      Preventing disinformation

At the EU level, it is important to continue strengtehening the resilience of EU media environment through targeted measures to prevent the spread of disinformation online.

5.      A resilient Energy Union pursuing a future-oriented climate change policy

Work must continue on the implementation of the Energy Union and the deepening of the energy single market. We must work to deliver on the EU commitments under the Paris Agreement. As current obligations and goals already set for Latvia are ambitious enough and require  high financial investments, Latvia supports, in the first place, the fulfilment of current commitments before new ones are assumed.

6.      A deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

Latvia supports in general terms the deepening and strengthening of the EMU in order to improve the competitiveness of the EU and the euro area and their resilience against various economic challenges. We support the measures for the establishment of a Capital Markets Union set out in the European Commission’s Action Plan. It is vital that the Capital Markets Union bring benefits to all EU Member States.

7.      The EU – a stronger global actor

In security and development cooperation, work must continue to enhance military mobility in the EU territory, the implementation of PESCO, and the fight against hybrid threats and cyber-attacks, including by cooperating with NATO and putting in practice the already-defined EU-NATO cooperation proposals in this area. Alongside the strengthening of defence capabilities, it is vital to develop the EU’s civilian capabilities.

The implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy must continue. The EU must remain actively engaged in the Central Asian region. Economic development, security, good governance, and education must be kept as key elements of the new EU strategy for Central Asia.

It is important to take forward the successful cooperation with the EU’s most important strategic partner – the United States of America, including on security and energy matters. The EU must also keep on with developing positively and strengthening its relationship with Canada.  

The double-track policy must be continued in the EU-Russia relations: restrictive measures alongside a dialogue at the diplomatic and expert level. The EU must further sustain a common, principles-based and consistent position on the non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea.

The EU must get involved in the WTO modernisation processes and continue working actively to open and capture new export markets through concluding balanced free-trade agreements.