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Latvia starts its Presidency of the Baltic Assembly

On 1 January 2016, Latvia started the Presidency of the Baltic Assembly. Latvia’s presidency of the Baltic Assembly is aimed at strengthening the interaction between the legislative and executive branches of the Baltic States in order to ensure representation of common regional interests, as well as comprehensive and inclusive regional cooperation. The agenda of Latvia’s presidency includes regional initiatives launched during Lithuania’s presidency and thus will ensure continuity of Baltic cooperation.

President of the Baltic Assembly and Chair of Latvian delegation to the Baltic Assembly Jānis Vucāns, underlines that, “Baltic nations still face both immediate and long-term challenges and problems. The Baltic Assembly, in close cooperation with the Baltic Council of Ministers, must strive to protect citizens’ interests by promoting their welfare, safety and competitiveness. Inhabitants of the Baltic region are interested in having a secure, predictable and growing political, economic, social and cultural environment.”

In order to achieve the set prerequisites Latvian Presidency has adopted the following priorities.

First, secure Baltic region: increased security, strategic communication and cyber security in the Region. Ensuring of this priority will include several activities such as: intensified cooperation among border security authorities; evaluation of centralised defence of critical Baltic Internet resources against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS); provide support to the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries; protection of European values in the common Baltic information area, strategic communication; development of low-carbon economy and society; energy security; follow-up on the priorities of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union – Development of the EU’s Digital Single Market – Contribution of the Baltic States and objectives that need particular focus namely, security in Europe; youth unemployment; birth rate and family support.

Second, united Baltic region: cooperation in the field of higher education, research and culture. Particular focus will be added on possibilities of establishing the Baltic Academy of Security; strengthening of common Baltic identity and on cooperation of the Baltic States in attracting students from third countries.

Third, open Baltic region: facilitation of a common business environment in the Baltic States. Members of the Baltic Assembly will focus on harmonisation of taxes; coordinated action against tax fraud; assessment of progress achieved in the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica project; safe and reliable digital environment; development of joint health-care projects of the Baltic States; sustainable use of natural resources: bio-economy and green economy.

Programme for Latvia’s Presidency of the Baltic Assembly in 2016