Tusk makes his mark
At his first European Council, Donald Tusk impressed with his ability to keep discussions focused enough to end the summit well ahead of schedule.
Donald Tusk took charge of his first European Council on Thursday (18 December), and told EU leaders that they could go home rather than return for a scheduled second day of talks.
A 'hastily drafted' letter to the German authorities has caused a headache for the European commissioner for transport.
- Tusk makes his markAt his first European Council, Donald Tusk impressed with his ability to keep discussions focused enough to end the summit well ahead of schedule.
- A year that changed our worldFaced with Russia’s colonial war in Ukraine, the West sticks to what it knows, rather than doing what it must.
Our best hope of preventing a full-blown regional security crisis is to prevent a local food crisis now, writes John Holmes.
- Europe’s misguided investment maniaEurope’s often-invoked investment gap is mostly a result of wishful thinking, and the remaining barriers to investment have little to do with a lack of financing, writes Daniel Gros.
- An opportunity with constraintsTo get an agreement on the Juncker investment package, avoid vague concepts, new rules and new forms of investment, writes the Czech Republic’s secretary of state for EU affairs.
A good week for...
Krišjānis Kariņš and Judith Sargentini
The centre-right Latvian MEP and the Dutch Green MEP were the European Parliament's two leading negotiators on new EU rules that aim to shine a light on complex corporate structures used by criminals to launder money and by companies to minimise taxes. Central registers are to be set up listing the owners of companies, trusts and other legal entities, giving the name, month and year or birth, nationality and residency of people who own and profit from them.
A bad week for...
The value of the Russian rouble hit an all-time low on Tuesday (16 December), with the economic stability engineered by Putin being shaken by falling oil prices and western sanctions. Russia revealed that it had spend almost €2 billion trying to intervene in the currency market, which had some, although limited success. "Even in our nightmares a year ago we couldn't have imagined what is happening now", said the deputy chairman of Russia's central bank, Sergei Shvetsov, as the currency slid further against the dollar and the euro.
Profile of the European commissioner for health and food safety.
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 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: stability amid the flux
- Low birth rate locks in Latvia’s demographic destiny
- Latvia: populate or perish
- Latvia: leading on austerity
Latvia was a frontrunner on reform and is now a frontrunner for growth. Its new challenge is to lead other countries towards both.
Domestic consensus on the need for stability should prevent Latvia’s political volatility from undermining its presidency.
The economic downturn has also had a negative effect on the birth-rate in Latvia.
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’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 environmental ambition
- Latvian citizens caught in the EU-Russia crossfire
- Latvia in purple
- Laimdota Straujuma: Latvia's prime minister
- Dana Reizniece-Ozola: Latvia's economics minister
- Jānis Dūklavs: Latvia's agriculture minister
- Jānis Reirs: Latvia's finance minister
- Edgars Rinkēvičs: Latvia's foreign minister
- Anrijs Matīss: Latvia's minister of transport
- Small country, big agenda
- The agenda for Latvia
Latvia has some impressive achievements on the environment, but inconsistency has marred its record.
The large ethnic-Russian minority poses a political challenge for its own representatives as well as the government.
Latvia needs to be better connected to Europe’s energy networks, but its vulnerability can be over-stated.
Mini-profile of Latvia's prime minister.
Mini profile of Latvia's economics minister.
Mini profile of Latvia's agriculture minister.
Mini profile of Latvia's finance minister.
Mini profile of Latvia's foreign minister.
Mini profile of Latvia's minister for transport.
Latvia faces some daunting tasks in a period of fast-changing policy.
The first half of 2015 holds some challenges for the Latvian government.
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