Kalniņa-Lukaševica: Restoring faith in EU an important future challenge

One of the chief challenges for the future of the EU is restoring faith in the union and making the bloc closer to its citizens, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary at the Foreign Ministry, told Latvian Radio May 9.

The politician said she considers May 9 to be the EU's birthday and that it's an important moment for Latvia as a EU member. "Especially to the people who recall that there were fewer opportunities before. Around this time each year, I visit schools to talk about the EU. It's more natural for young people, while the older generation recalls that May 9 has been used for other purposes as well," Kalniņa-Lukaševica said.

She said that every year there are fewer and fewer people celebrating the so-called Soviet "Victory Day" and more and more people celebrating Europe Day.

On May 9 EU leaders are meeting at Sibiu, Romania to discuss the bloc's priorities for the next five years. Kalniņa-Lukaševica said that the main challenges the EU is facing is promoting economic competitiveness, raising living standards, as well as defense matters. "Russian threats, migration, terrorism. Renewing faith in the EU, restoring the EU's links with its citizens," she listed what she sees as the most important matters.

She likewise said that Latvia has gained a lot from the EU within the 15 years since the country joined. The Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2015 likewise gave a lot of experience to Latvian politicians. "We really became mature members at the time we were leading the EU. That's the moment when you're the director and lead the work. After 2015 we've gained a lot of self-confidence, in that we're not just mere participants but can shape the future of the EU and achieve solutions," she said.

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