The Latvian Presidency is devoting special attention to Europe’s internal and external security. This was emphasised by Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, on Monday, 20 April, at the Conference of the Speakers of European Union (EU) Parliaments. The Speaker of the Saeima informed her colleagues about the latest developments pertaining to Latvia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The annual EU Speakers’ Conference is taking place on 20 – 21 April in Rome, Italy.
“During these two days in Rome we are discussing the top issues on the EU agenda – not only economic issues but also immigration and human trafficking,” Speaker Mūrniece said in her address. “The Latvian Presidency coincides with a historically decisive time. Whether we like it or not, Russia’s aggressive behaviour has become our daily concern. Likewise, both in the south and the north of Europe we face risks related to terrorism, radicalisation and migration. The Latvian Presidency reacted immediately to the terrorist attacks in Paris, Belgium and Copenhagen By revising our agenda and adding security to the list of our top priorities,” stated the Speaker of the Saeima, adding that the tragedy in the Mediterranean demands that new solutions be sought for issues related to migration.
“We acknowledge that the unity of the EU is being tested. Our solidarity and joint action against Russia’s hybrid warfare in Eastern Ukraine is a part of our way forward. The unity of the EU has been maintained during the Latvian Presidency – we agreed that sanctions must remain in place until Russia fully honours its commitments under the Minsk Agreements,” said the Speaker of the Saeima. “The Latvian Presidency is doing its best to ensure that the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga reaffirms the EU’s commitment to the region and its preparedness to react accordingly during this turbulent time,” said Mūrniece, adding that “the work on the Riga Summit Declaration is in progress. We believe the Declaration should provide an ambitious forward-looking view to our partners, based on their individual needs and EU aspirations.”
“As we live in the shadow of hybrid warfare threats, we should ensure greater civil-military and inter-institutional synergy in areas such as strategic communication, border security and cyber security. EU member states should act together with their transatlantic partners in order to further improve strategic communication. We need to address the ongoing disinformation campaigns. Therefore, we are glad that the European Council has invited the High Representative to prepare an Action Plan on Strategic Communication by June,” stated the Speaker.
With regard to competitiveness, Mūrniece welcomed the finding of a common approach to the European Fund for Strategic Investment and noted that the Fund is expected to become operational this year. The Speaker highlighted the development of the Energy Union as one of the top priorities of the Latvian Presidency and expressed gratification for the fact that this ambitious initiative was launched in Riga. In conclusion, Mūrniece reaffirmed that the Latvian Presidency will continue to work hard in order to promote growth in Europe.
Saeima Press Service