As agricultural policy expert Mārtiņš Trons of the NGO known as the Farmers’ Saeima told Latvian Radio Monday, pre-election promises to tackle ongoing agricultural issues critical to Latvia’s interests and for which the support of Europe’s lawmakers is essential have been forgotten.
“We’re not really happy with this. Even most of their programs before the EP elections mentioned subsidy leveling, fair agricultural policies,” the consultant said. “Some of them even specifically vowed that, if elected, they’d go work on the agriculture committee,” the farmers’ group lobbyist went on to recall.
Sandra Kalniete’s position as substitute member on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development means she is only entitled to vote in meetings when actively replacing an absent member, explained Trons.
“We were really hoping Kalniete would be ready to work on this committee,” he said.
Trons also voiced discontent that the Greens and Farmers Union MEP Iveta Grigule appeared to have forgotten pre-election promises that agriculture would be a priority.
The EP reports that of Latvia’s eight MEPs, three (Sandra Kalniete, Andrejs Mamikins, Iveta Grigule) have clustered into the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Besides incumbent Kalniete, of the European People’s Party group, ex-premier Valdis Dombrovskis will sit as a member of the Committee on Budgets and substitute for absent members on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.
Former defense and foreign affairs minister Artis Pabriks will serve on the Committee on International Trade, and substitute on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Krišjānis Kariņš will be a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, while subbing on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
In addition to foreign affairs, newcomer Grigule will double up her duties on the Subcommittee on Security and Defense. Veteran MEP Roberts Zīle continues his service on the Committee on Transport and Tourism and as a sub on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
On her part, Tatjana Ždanoka, affiliated with the EP’s Greens/European Free Alliance group, and who barely made it back into an EP seat by surpassing the 5% election threshold at the front of Latvia’s Russian Party ticket, will continue on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as well as the Committee on Petitions.