Vytenis Andriukaitis: defiant reformist

A decade after the Baltic states joined the European Union, healthcare remains a mess, and many feel the situation has worsened in recent years as costs soar and younger medics leave for better salaries elsewhere. Reforms are desperately needed, but it is a minefield: whoever attempts sweeping change invariably invites criticism, indignation, even fury. Vytenis Andriukaitis, the combative European commissioner for health and food safety, will not be daunted: he has already been through just such a storm at home in Lithuania.

People & Places

Belgian MEP to stand down

Belgian liberal MEP Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck announced on Monday (15 December) her intention to leave the European Parliament in January. Neyts-Uyttebroeck has served as an MEP since 2004 …

Latvia is probably one of the least known countries of the European Union. It is certainly one of the smallest and, unfortunately, one of the poorest. So Latvia’s presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers, during the first half of 2015, will test its resilience and resourcefulness.

  • Latvia’s fresh start
  • Latvia was a frontrunner on reform and is now a frontrunner for growth. Its new challenge is to lead other countries towards both.

  • Latvia: stability amid the flux
  • Domestic consensus on the need for stability should prevent Latvia’s political volatility from undermining its presidency.

  • Low birth rate locks in Latvia’s demographic destiny
  • The economic downturn has also had a negative effect on the birth-rate in Latvia.

  • Latvia: populate or perish
  • The tide of young, educated Latvians leaving the country is creating a skills shortage which poses a threat to the country’s economic recovery.

  • Latvia: leading on austerity
  • Latvia’s liberalised economy has enjoyed some of the strongest growth in the eurozone, but pressure is growing on the government to improve services for citizens.


Latvia's EU Presidency: a common EU agenda?

21 January 2015 - 6:30-8pm

Résidence Palace, Brussels, BE

On 21 January 6-7.45pm, European Voice will host a debate to discuss the programme, priorities and preoccupations of Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the EU. The …

With: Valdis Dombrovskis, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Roberts Zīle


Payments: cornerstone of the digital economy

28 January 2015 - 6-7:30pm

Thon hotel EU, Brussels, BE

The ability to make electronic payments safely, quickly and conveniently has become an important part of the digital economy. Every day millions of businesses and consumers pay …

With: Michal Boni, Jörgen Gren, Fernando Herrero, Martin Weiderstrand, Chris Kangas