On Friday, 16 August, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, addressed her colleagues at the annual meeting of the parliamentary speakers of the Nordic Countries and the Baltic States (NB8), stressing that Latvia has a stake in a strong European Union and euro area; therefore, it welcomes all efforts exerted in order to attain this goal.
Speaker Āboltiņa pointed out that throughout the year news about the European, as well as the global financial and economic situation, has not always been pleasant. “The EU has done everything in its power to mitigate the consequences of the crisis and to lay a foundation for stable and sustainable future growth. Currently, the main priority is to implement all the measures member states have agreed on, as well as to ensure a healthy economic and financial environment by decreasing state budget deficit and debt level,” said Āboltiņa.
“Latvia has come out of a grave economic crisis; thanks to public support and decisions made both on the governmental and parliamentary level, we have created favourable conditions for the future growth of our country. The latest statistical data we received this week once again attested to the correctness of our decisions because Latvia experiences rapid economic growth with more than 4% increase of the GDP in the second quarter of this year,” said Āboltiņa, informing her NB8 colleagues about the situation in Latvia.
The Speaker of the Saeima emphasised that this year Latvia has come closer to achieving two significant strategic goals – accession to the euro area and the European Cooperation and Development Organisation (OECD). “This summer we received a positive Convergence Report from the European Central Bank and the European Commission. The subsequent positive decisions from the European Parliament and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council gave us the green light to become the 18th member state of the euro area,” stated Āboltiņa, adding that the public has to be persistently informed about the importance of this change.
When speaking about the decision of the OECD’s Ministerial Council to open membership talks with Latvia, Āboltiņa said that Latvia sees this decision as recognition of the efforts made in the course of the past few years. “It is an important sign on a national and global level that the economy of Latvia is among the world’s strongest economies,” voiced the Speaker of the Saeima, expressing her gratitude to the Nordic Countries and Estonia for their support.
Speaker Āboltiņa also indicated that next year Riga will become the European Capital of Culture for the first time and in 2015 Latvia will assume the presidency over the Council of the European Union. “We are setting priorities for the upcoming presidency, and in the second half of this year we are planning to intensify cooperation with our presidency trio partners – Luxembourg and Italy. It is very likely that one of our priorities will be the Eastern Partnership; therefore, we are pleased to see this topic also on the agenda of this meeting,” said Solvita Āboltiņa.
From August 14 to August 17, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, is paying a working visit to Denmark, where she takes part in discussions on topicalities of the region with colleagues from the Nordic Countries and Baltic States at the annual NB8 meeting.
The meeting of the parliamentary speakers of the Nordic Countries and Baltic States is held annually in a country of one of the two regions, and it is attended by speakers from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.
Saeima Press Service