Government floats idea of Euro presidency minister

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Latvia could use a special minister for the duration of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2015, Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma told LTV morning news program Panorama Tuesday.

As newswire BNS reports, Straujuma said that the creation of a new ministerial post for Latvia’s Council of the EU Presidency term had been discussed by the Cabinet at the beginning of this year but the then-ruling coalition had rejected the proposal. Now it is a question for the new government, she said.

"It's essential to have a political representative working directly with the presidency," Straujuma maintained.

The premier suggested the special minister could be appointed for six months or a year to deal with matters related to Latvia’s EU presidency. When asked why the Foreign Affairs Minister couldn't handle the extra responsibilities, she said "You see how much he has to do.

"Considering the developments in Ukraine and Russia, the Latvian foreign minister already has his hands quite full and so he should not be saddled with EU Presidency affairs," Straujuma went on to say.

No additional financing would be required from the national budget for the new ministerial post as the money could be diverted within the Foreign Ministry’s budget, Straujuma indicated.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics has previously remarked that Latvia "cannot do without" a special minister for European affairs, however Latvian President Andris Berzins has earlier stated that the suggestion did not make sense to him. "What would they do with this minister afterwards?,” he asked, pointing out that there were highly professional people working in the Latvian representation to the EU in Brussels, who could cope with the responsibilities of Latvia’s term in the EU Presidency.

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