European Council discusses EU's economic development, security and the situation in the Balkans
On Thursday 9 March, the Heads of State or Government of the European Union (EU) at the European Council meeting in Brussels discussed the issues related to the EU’s economic development, security as well as the situation in the Western Balkans.
The members of the European Council found that the overall outlook in terms of economic development is getting better and economic growth shows an upward trend while recognizing the need to continue the reforms and strengthen the internal market.
Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis notes that it is now more important than ever to continue with structural reforms that focus on growth and jobs. ”Latvia is fully committed to proceed with the ongoing reforms. However, in order to ensure that the EU countries feel the responsibility for the implementation of specific recommendations, it is important that the European Commission and the EU Member States arrive at a common understanding of the work to be done both in terms of content and in terms of time frame,” says M. Kučinskis.
At the end of last year, the European Commission (EC) came up with the Growth Report, thereby launching the 2017 European Semester. The report deals with the economic and social situation in the EU as a whole, and outlines the main economic and social priorities where efforts should concentrate in the coming months. The report indicates that a series of positive steps are taking place in the EU that are indicative of resilience and recovery of the EU economy, however, the situation remains fragile.
With regard to security, the European Council discussed the proposals to improve planning and implementation of the EU operations and missions, permanent structured cooperation and coordination of defence capability planning. It is expected that, in the period until the European Council of June, the work will continue on a number of other proposals, including the development of civilian capabilities and practical application and expansion of the EU Battle Groups.
The EU Heads of State or Government also took note of the state of play in the Western Balkans and found that a constructive political dialogue, regional cooperation, as well as friendly neighbourly relations are needed to ensure lasting stability in the region. It was decided to continue support for the region.
As announced, Prime Minister M. Kučinskis is paying a visit to Brussels from 9-10 March to participate in work of the European Council.
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister