For the first time since its accession to the EU in 2004, Latvia will assume the 6-month’s rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers from 1 January 2015.
It will be a special presidency coming at a time when the EU is involved in a series of institutional transitions, including the new Commission and a Latvian vice-president, V. Dombrovskis. Besides, it will be the first full presidency in the EU’s new political cycle (2014-2020).
Latvian presidency is the second in the trio involving also Italy and Luxembourg.
At this critical juncture, the Latvian Presidency will play a key role in working together with the Union’s new leadership configuration that will have to face key decisions related to the implementation of the EU’s strategic agenda adopted in June 2014.
Three priorities: competitive, digital and engaged Europe
At the briefing, Ilze Juhansone, Latvian Permanent Representative to the EU set out the priorities of the Latvian Presidency of the Council and address the key challenges ahead.
The Latvian Presidency has already announced that it will concentrate on three broad areas aiming towards a competitive, digital and engaged Europe.
In this framework the Latvian Presidency team will deal with the following concrete and significant policy issues:
= the need to foster investments and economic reforms,
= the revision of the Europe 2020 strategy,
= the creation of a digital single market,
= the engagement with strategic partners (including TTIP),
= the Union’s neighbourhood policy (including Eastern Partnership),
= the continuation of enlargement negotiations,
= issues related to migration, as well as
= the future of EU security and defence policy.
Her presentation was followed by a question and answer session, chaired by Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Director of Studies and Head of Programme at the European Policy Center.