On 15 July 2020, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, took part in a European Union (EU) General Affairs Council videoconference.
The main agenda point was preparations for the European Council meeting on 17–18 July and a possible agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021–2027 and the recovery package. The priorities of the German presidency of the Council of the EU were also discussed at the meeting.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica noted that it is in the interests of all Member States to achieve a timely agreement on the long term EU budget and the new recovery plan so as to ensure the continuity of investments and that they arrive in due time. The Parliamentary Secretary also highlighted Latvia’s priorities, with a special focus on agriculture. It is unacceptable for Latvia, said the Parliamentary Secretary, that Baltic farmers receive the lowest direct payments in the European Union. We shall continue to insist on a solution, she said.
At the same time, the Cohesion Policy will be one of the most vital instruments to promote economic growth. The Parliamentary Secretary stressed that Latvia is prepared to invest in sustainable, climate-friendly and technologically-advanced initiatives. In view of the importance of the multiannual EU budget for mitigating the negative consequences of COVID-19, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined that sufficient and fairly-distributed funding for economic recovery, reform and investment in the medium term is important for Latvia.
The General Affairs Council meets once a month, and in the second half of 2020 it shall be chaired by Germany during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
On 10 July 2020, the European Commission presented its compromise proposal for the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021–2027 and the Recovery Package in view of challenges caused by COVID-19, which will make it possible to mobilise additional EU funding for the stimulation of Member State economies in the coming years.
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