On 4 September 2019 in Brussels, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, met with the newly-elected Chair of the Committee on Regional Development at the European Parliament, Younous Omarjee.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica emphasised that the Cohesion Policy remains one of the most essential investment policies for regions that are the least-developed economically speaking. “Significant reduction in financing for the policy proposed by the European Commission is unacceptable. Against the backdrop of the global economic slow-down, the importance of the Cohesion Policy continues to increase” the Parliamentary Secretary said.
Both the Parliamentary Secretary and the Chair of the Committee on Regional Development agreed on the importance of the Cohesion Policy for strengthening the economic development of the European Union (EU). Therefore, funding for cohesion-related goals must not be radically reduced, and this concerns the least developed regions in particular. The new priorities such as security, defence and climate are vitally important; nevertheless, it is unacceptable that they should be financed at the expense of the Cohesion Policy.
“I am happy that the positions of Latvia and the EP coincide on the future for the Cohesion Policy,” the Parliamentary Secretary said. And with this in mind, coordinated action can help carry forward negotiations on the Cohesion Policy funding for the EU budgetary period of 2012–2027. Through joint effort, adoption of a balanced budget aiming for the convergence of the levels of development of EU Member States and regions can be achieved, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica stressed. Younous Omarjee confirmed that the new EP would stand up for the position of not reducing the EU budgetary resources directed toward regional development and economic growth.
The EP Committee on Regional Development has a vital role to play in negotiations on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework. The Committee formulates the Parliament’s position in the process of the adoption of legislative acts regulating the Cohesion Policy. Those are adopted under ordinary legislative procedures in which Parliament and the Council of the European Union, meaning representatives of Member States, have equal legislative powers.
During her visit to Brussels, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, also met with Tytti Tuppurainen, the Minister for European Affairs of Finland, the country holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union, for a discussion on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021–2027. The Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Foreign Ministry underlined Latvia’s preparedness for active and constructive negotiations in order to reach an agreement on a timely adoption of the budget. She also addressed various other matters important to Latvia including allocation of sufficient funding for the sake of reducing disparities in living standards among EU Member States; support for farmers both to level out direct payments and for rural development; as well as ensuring sufficient funding for the Rail Baltica project.
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