Latvia and the Igc

Europe-East, September 30, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Latvia and the Igc


Latvia has agreed its position for the Intergovernmental Conference. On 30 September, the Cabinet of Ministers approved Latvia's position paper on the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. Latvia endorses the draft Treaty, as it sees it as combining in one document the basic foundation and structural principles of the EU, which are currently dispersed among eight different treaties; simplifies the EU decision-making system; clearly defines the competences of the EU and its Member States; and makes the EU more easily understandable for its citizens.

As a future EU Member State, Latvia will be taking part in the IGC for the first time, represented by Prime Minister Einars Repse and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandra Kalniete. Latvia says its position rests on two principles, the respect of which constitutes the paramount goal of EU reform - increased work effectiveness, and equality among Member States. Latvia's four main priorities for the intergovernmental negotiations will be the following:

1. The composition of the European Commission - Each Member State should be represented by one Commissioner with full voting rights and a defined area of responsibility. The EC is a collegiate body which represents the common interests of all Member States. All Commissioners should have equal rights.

2. Representation within the European Parliament - the representation of each Member State as defined in the Treaty of Nice should be preserved. The smaller countries should have no fewer than five seats in the European Parliament. According these countries only 4 seats would mean that not only a diminution in the number of Latvia's representatives in the Parliament, but also that of the smaller countries as a whole.

3. Legislative Council - Latvia does not support the formation of a separate body expressly for this purpose. Adopting EU legislation solely within the confines of such a Council (a function currently fulfilled by sectoral Councils, depending on the particular issue being considered) would complicate and slow down the EU decision-making process, as this would mean that the necessary specialists would have to be specially invited to attend each new Council session.

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