Latvia's Rinkēvičs: EU current budget plans are "unacceptable"

On 19 February 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the meeting of the General Affairs Council in Brussels, at which Member State representatives discussed progress in negotiations on the EU budget for 2021–2027. 

During the discussion Rinkēvičs maintained Latvia's position that plans for the future direction of the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy are "unacceptable" in their current form, according to a release from the Ministry.

“Latvia finds unacceptable the reductions in the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Policy. According to the European Commission’s proposal, by 2026, Latvian farmers will have reached only 77% of the EU average level of direct payments. Neither is Latvia satisfied with the diminished funding in the rural development sector," said Rinkēvičs. 

Baltic farmers have long argued that their low level of direct payments, when compared to some other EU member states, makes it hard for them to compete on a fair basis.

He also linked the question of funding for the Rail Baltica infrastructure project to the discussion, saying:

"It is important for Latvia that funds be ensured for the Rail Baltica project. The application of geographical criteria in the Horizon Europe program is of equal importance, since that would help promote integration within the common European research space.” 

Horizon Europe is a €100 billion research and innovation program that will succeed the current Horizon 2020 program.

The General Affairs Council is convened on a monthly basis and in the first half of 2019 its meetings are chaired by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

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