Increasing security, boosting growth, creating jobs, establishing a digital single market: Latvia will have plenty to do at the helm of the Council presidency the coming six months. Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma discussed her country's priorities during a debate in the European Parliament on 14 January. Some MEPs welcomed plans to focus on passenger name record legislation to improve security, while others stressed the importance of investment.
Referring to last week's terrorist attacks in France, Straujuma highlighted the need to strengthen security in Europe, while still safeguarding fundamental values: "Our objective is to defend the European values, a space of freedom, security, justice and mutual tolerance, characterising Europe in the world."
She said her country's goals included "a competitive, digital and globally strong Europe" as well as better links with the European Parliament: "It is important for us to work in close cooperation with you. This is the main reason for my visit today – to strengthen our cooperation and to develop a coherent agenda of the Council and the Parliament."
Rolandas Paksas, warned that large countries exercised a strong influence on the presidency programmes of small member states. "We need an EU security strategy, jobs and growth, but first of all a common energy market,” he added.