As of Thursday 1 January 2015, Latvia has taken over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. EU countries holding the Presidency work together closely in groups of three, called ‘trios’. The current trio runs from 30 June 2014 to 31 December 2015 and consists of Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg.
EM Ireland Latvian Presidency Briefing
On Wednesday 14 January 2015, EM Ireland held our first Presidency Briefing of 2015 with the Minister of State for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, and the Ambassador of Latvia to Ireland, H.E. Dr Gints Apals.
Both the Minister and Ambassador spoke energetically about the aims and objectives of the Latvian Presidency and, in light of the recent attacks on Paris, at length about the values shared by all citizens of Europe. The Minister in his speech stated “We must remind ourselves that the values we share as Europeans outweigh our differences”.
At the event, the Minister and Ambassador launched EM Ireland’s six-month Latvian Presidency Calendar. Download your copy here.
Latvia’s Presidency Priorities
The Latvian Presidency will focus on three overarching priorities: Competitive Europe, Digital Europe and Engaged Europe.
A key objective for the Latvian Presidency is to bring about a more competitive Europe, which it is believed will generate jobs, investment and economic growth. In order to achieve this, the Latvian Presidency will work on the Investment Plan for Europe; continue work on strengthening the Single Market; launch discussions and start working on the Energy Union; promote industrial competitiveness. All of which, aim to bring about a more competitive, entrepreneurial and inclusive European Union.
Vast technological expansion across Europe raises challenges, but also unprecedented opportunities that have the potential to boost smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the EU. The Latvian Presidency will endeavour to advance data protection; work on the telecommunications market package; and start discussions on the Digital Single Market strategy. In so doing, the Presidency will zone in on areas including cyber security, a framework for data protection, promoting the digitalisation of an e-Europe and reducing the cost of telecommunications for customers across the European Union.
Since the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 and the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union has become a more visible actor in international affairs, trade and diplomacy. One of the main priorities of the Latvian Presidency is to facilitate this continued presence with regard to international relations, focussing on the review of the Neighbourhood Policy; transatlantic trade agreements with the United States and Canada; the EU-Central Asia Strategy; ensuring the continued safety of its people; and reaffirming its commitment to EU enlargement policy.
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