Latvia will take over the Presidency of the European Council from Italy on 1 January for the first half of 2015. Ilze Juhansone, Latvia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, talks with Jennifer Baker about the top priorities of the Latvian EU Presidency.
Juhansone reveals the three top priorities for the Latvian Presidency: a competitive, digital and engaged Europe. For the next six months, the Latvian Presidency aims to make significant progress on the European Commission’s investment package and move forward with a strategy for the Energy Union – both aimed at boosting Europe’s competitiveness. In order to foster a digital Europe, the Latvian Presidency of the Council will focus on putting the EU Telecoms Package in place. 2015 is the European Year of Development, therefore the Latvian Presidency will also pay particular attention to the empowerment of women, as a part of its Engaged Europe initiative.
Latvia takes the helm of the Council at a moment when Europe faces big security challenges. The European Union’s relations with Russia will be the “key element” of foreign policy during the presidency. However, the Ambassador underlines that it will not overshadow the need to deal with humanitarian crises in the EU’s neighbourhood.