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Sunday, 09.03.2014, 12:31
Rinkevics in Luxembourg agrees on common position for enhancing quality of EU investments
Ahead of the council meeting, Rinkevics organized a meeting of ministers from countries which traditionally support the EU's cohesion policy. Based on the initiative of Latvia, an agreement was reached on a joint statement by 15 member states that outlines ways of improving the quality of EU investments and the contribution these investments have in growth, employment and convergence.
During the General Affairs Council meeting, the ministers debated the role of the EU budget in overcoming the crisis and promoting growth in Europe. In this context, Rinkevics indicated the common position of the Friends of Cohesion Policy group regarding the quality of investments. The Latvian foreign minister reiterated Latvia's key interests in talks on the EU's new multi-annual financial framework: adequate cohesion allocations and a faster convergence of direct payment levels.
The minister emphasized the effectiveness and importance of cohesion policy, and highlighted a number of successful examples of investments that had impact on growth and job creation amongst EU members. Cohesion policy funding provides invaluable contribution not only to infrastructure in Latvia and Europe, but also builds the foundation for the future development of Latvia and Europe. For instance, due to assistance under cohesion policy, 95 percent of all vocational teachers in Latvia have increased their professional qualifications and the number of doctoral degrees awarded in exact sciences has increased threefold.
While discussing the upcoming European Council meeting scheduled for June 28-29, the ministers discussed the report on an economic and monetary union prepared by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.
During a debate on the EU integration process of Montenegro, the Latvian foreign minister noted the necessity to reach an agreement on launching EU accession talks as early as in June this year, because the progress made by Montenegro in the implementation of reforms demonstrates this country's wish and readiness to continue working towards the Copenhagen Criteria.