Latvian priorities for the European Union's agenda in 2016

06.02.2018. 13:08

Programme of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The main EU-related issues that Latvia will be following in 2016 and taking forward as it looks after its interests  

  • With regard to the Energy Union, Latvia emphasizes common goals and principles and will be working on specific initiatives aimed at energy security and energy independence, especially in the gas market. 
  • Latvia welcomes the historical agreement reached at the Paris Climate Conference. With view to the introduction of the climate and energy framework, it is important for Latvia that fair and equitable effort-sharing is achieved between EU Member States concerning commitments to the greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 in the sectors that are not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (the non-ETS sectors), especially transport, agriculture and forestry. The agreement must reflect the different conditions and special circumstances in the Member States: in the case of Latvia, the non-ETS sector accounts for more than 75% of total emissions. In addition, the potential impact on economy should also be taken into account.
  • In the context of the Single Market Strategy, we emphasise the need to improve the business environment, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while promoting the quality of employment. To enable the free movement of goods and services, the principle of mutual recognition must be strengthened and cross-border activities must be enhanced not only for goods but also in the services sector. Latvia expects the European Commission to work actively in monitoring the application of regulation in the Single Market area. In the context of labour mobility, Latvia will support solutions that do not create possibilities to discriminate workers from other Member States and do not hinder a free flow of services.
  • Concerning the Digital Single Market, we see the need for the facilitation of the further removal of barriers and improvement of standards, Latvia expects a rapid review of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive, a push in the direction of European cloud-computing and data circulation, a review of the EU copyright rules, and a well-considered and well thought-out approach for further reforms in the telecommunications sector.
  • European migration and asylum policy requires a balanced, well-considered and comprehensive approach to enable an appropriate response to global challenges while corresponding to the needs and capacities of the Member States, as well as contributing to the strengthening of the EU’s external borders. It is essential to tackle the root causes of illegal migration and provide the necessary support for the countries of origin and transit. The link between the internal and external dimension of migration should be further developed in a coherent manner and synergies must be ensured between migration and development policies.
  • In the midterm review of the Multiannual Financial Framework, cohesion and agriculture will be the top priorities for Latvia. The EU Structural Funds must continue promoting growth, jobs and convergence in the European Union.
  • We support the development of an EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy that would enable the EU to be more united and coherent in its actions globally. It is important that the EU Member States agree on key security risks, including hybrid threats, and identify appropriate external relations instruments for the prevention of those risks. We believe that it is vital to prioritize security and stability in Europe’s neighbourhood and move ahead with reinforcing transatlantic relations (EU-USA, EU-NATO).