Tusk calls for security upgrades on Latvia visit

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European Council President and former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk took the opportunity of talks in Riga Friday to announce plans to speed up anti-terror measures in the wake of the murderous Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.


Speaking briefly to reporters after talks with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Tusk said: "Terror has struck in Europe. Sadly it is not the first time. Madrid, London and other such dramatic events demonstrate the vulnerability of nations in today's world.

The European Union cannot do everything but it can contribute to strengthening our security.

"If you remember in reaction to 9/11 the EU developed the European arrest warrant but we need to do more. Next week in Strasbourg I will appeal to the European Parliament to to speed up work on the EU passenger name record system. I hope that it can help in detecting the travel of dangerous people after this tragic attack in Paris," Tusk said.

And having spoken to President Hollande yesterday evening I intend to use the meeting of heads of state and government on 12th of February to discuss more broadly the response the EU can bring to these challenges.  

On the subject of Russia, Tusk was also refreshingly straightforward.

"Let me be clear the EU does not have a policy against Russia. We have a policy that is aimed at ensuring the respect of peace and borders in Europe. It is a policy that requires and will continue to require sacrifices," Tusk said.

"Often the price to pay is higher in countries like Latvia but there is no way around it. The EU will stay the course because fundamental values and European security are at stake."

For her part, Straujuma concentrated on the future agenda of Latvia's six-month EU Presidency, launched officially on Thursday.

"The European Council in March will, first of all, address the Energy Union that is of utmost importance for us. The key issue to be discussed by the European Council in June will be the European Single Digital Market. Of course, there will be specific additional issues. We cannot avoid security issues, as well as other issues, which might appear on the agenda." 

Speaking about the Eastern Partnership Summit, Latvia has the following approach – there are six states – Eastern partners, and the approach towards each country differs, just as each country is different. 

"During this Summit, the main task is to demonstrate that the cooperation between the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU has a value in itself," Straujuma said.

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