Latvia’s priorities in European Union matters

03.02.2021. 00:17

Currently, the EU's priority directions are determined by the EU Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024 adopted by the Member States. The agenda focuses on four main priorities:

  • protecting citizens and freedoms,
  • developing an economic base,
  • building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe,
  • promoting European interests and values on the global stage.

It is also important to take into account the priorities set by U. von der Leyen for the European Commission for 2019-2024.

Climate and digital matters, legal, political and economic principles based on the EU's core values, and a strong EU in the field of external affairs are also important for Latvia.

Latvia's priorities in the EU's work are reflected every year in the Foreign Minister's annual foreign policy report.

Currently, Latvia pays special attention to the following EU matters:

  • COVID-19 coordination and recovery of EU economy

 EU Member States are working closely together to limit the spread of COVID-19. Coordination and exchange of information between Member States on measures restricing travel must continue, while maintaining the functioning of the Single Market and the integrity of Schengen during the pandemic. Discussions will continue between Member States on temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU and the possible lifting of such restrictions, as well as on joint EU communication in the fight against misinformation related to COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccination process. Work will also continue on the European Commission's proposal for a Health Union, which will strengthen the health care system in the long run and promote its resilience.

 In 2020, the Economic Recovery Package was adopted, which included two components: the EU's multi-annual budget for 2021-2027 and the Economic Recovery Instrument. In order to start the flow of investment of EU funds in the economies of the Member States, it is necessary to complete the work on the so-called sectoral acts governing EU policies and programme funding conditions. At the same time, at national level, Member States need to complete work on programming documents for EU funds.

  • The Single Market and its digitalisation

 The Single Market is a cornerstone of the EU and Latvia's global competitiveness. As a priority issue for Latvia, we actively advocate a comprehensive deepening, improvement and digitization of the Single Market.

  • Climate change policy

 The potential of climate-friendly policies for economic growth and quality of life, as well as for the creation of new technological solutions, must be exploited. We see the potential for a smart transition to renewable energy.

  • A deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

 Deepening the EMU to improve the competitiveness and resilience of the EU and the eurozone to various economic shocks, while reducing socio-economic inequalities between the Member States.

  • The EU – a stronger global player

 Security and defence cooperation should continue to promote military mobility within the EU, the implementation of PESCO, and the fight against hybrid threats (including disinformation) and cyber-attacks, including in cooperation with NATO.

 The multilateral and rules-based international order needs to be further strengthened. The implementation of the EU Neighborhood Policy, as well as the EU Enlargement Policy, must be pursued through a clear EU integration process based on individual approaches and the fulfilment of criteria.

 Even after the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU, it remains a close and important partner, so the EU's relationship with the United Kingdom must be as close and comprehensive as possible, building on the agreement reached on future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom.

 Transatlantic relations need to be strengthened.

 The EU-Russia relations must continue with a “two-track policy”: restrictive measures versus dialogue at the diplomatic and expert level. This approach must be maintained until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented. The EU must continue to maintain a united, principles-based and consistent position on the issue of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea.