Latvia’s priorities for the European Union agenda in 2020
In 2019, a new institutional cycle commenced in the European Union: in May, European Parliamentary elections took place and a new roster of members emerged; and then, on 1 December, the new European Commission began its work headed by Ursula von der Leyen, and the new President of the European Council, Charles Michel, took office.
The European Council on 20–21 June 2019 approved the EU strategic agenda for 2019–2024. The document focuses on four main priorities:
- protecting citizens and freedoms
- developing a strong and vibrant economic base
- building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
- promoting European interests and values on the global stage
Latvia supports those priorities and asserts that every EU policy should be based on convergence, unity and resilience.
The United Kingdom remains a major partner to Latvia and the EU; therefore, in the future, we would like to have as close as possible cooperation in safeguarding people’s interests, in security, defence, foreign affairs, trade, education and other matters.
2. EU Multiannual Financial Framework
The main priorities are the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy (rural development and the convergence of direct payments for Latvian farmers with the EU average). Another principal aspect for Latvia is funding for infrastructure projects, for instance, Rail Baltica, as well as for science and innovation.
3. The Single Market and its digitalisation
The EU Single Market is the keystone of global competitiveness for the EU and Latvia. We actively advocate the overall deepening, improvement and digitalisation of the Single Market.
4. Climate change policy
Opportunities offered by a climate-friendly policy should be used for promoting economic growth and improving the quality of life, as well as creating new technological solutions. We see potential for a smart transition to renewable energy resources.
5. A deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)
The deepening of the EMU in order to improve the competitiveness of the EU and the euro area and their resilience against various economic challenges, whilst reducing socio-economic inequality among the Member States.
6. 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 such as disinformation and cyber-attacks, including through cooperation with NATO.
The strengthening of a multilateral and rules-based international order must continue. The implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy must continue as well as the EU enlargement policy, pursuing a clear EU enlargement process based on an individualised approach and fulfilment of specific criteria.
7. It is vital to strengthen transatlantic relations.
The “double-track policy” must be continued in the EU-Russia relations: restrictive measures alongside a dialogue at the diplomatic and expert level. This approach must remain in place until the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The EU must further sustain a common, principles-based and consistent position on the non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea.