STRASBOURG, January 12. /TASS/. This year’s first plenary session of the European Parliament is opening in Strasbourg, France, on Monday. The lawmakers will discuss among the main topics the priorities of Latvia’s EU presidency and European Commission’s investment programme worth 315 billion euro.
“Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma will discuss the priorities of the country’s six-month EU presidency assumed on Wednesday morning,” the press service of the European Parliament told TASS. “In addition, on Tuesday the parliament will also analyse the results of Italy’s presidency in the EU with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker. According to the source, the three-hour debate on January 14 “is likely to be devoted to the creation of a competitive, digital and businesslike Europe.” “This is Latvia’s first duty at the helm of the EU since it joined the community in 2004,” the EP members said.
Previously, European Council President Donald Tusk said after a meeting with Straujuma that after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris security will be one of the most complex issues in the next six months. “These tragic events demonstrate our vulnerability, but we need to strengthen the ability to protect ourselves and create additional security guarantees,” he said. According to Tusk, the situation in Ukraine is also still relevant. “We need to think about Europe’s possible response. The principles of indivisibility of territory and sovereignty cannot be violated,” he said.
However, Tusk says that EU’s policy is not targeted against Russia. The European Union’s policy aim, he said, is to ensure peaceful coexistence. He also acknowledged that “Latvia pays a higher price for this EU policy than other countries, but it has no other choice at the moment.”
During the EU Council presidency Latvia will also have to deal with economic problems: issues of the prevention of economic crisis, resumption of economic growth and attracting investment, Tusk said. “Latvia gives a good example of overcoming the crisis and bold decisions on structural reform,” he said.
On Tuesday, the European Council head will have to share his views on the European Commission’s investment programme with the European parliamentarians. This will be Tusk’s first address to the EP. Juncker’s investment plan that was presented in late 2014 envisages mobilisation of 315 billion euro in public and private investment between 2015 and 2017 in order to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and thereby increase the community’s competitiveness. EC in January 2015 is to prepare a detailed plan on paper, after which then the EP and the European Council are to approve it by June to ensure the inflow of investment funds in the economy.
At the current session on Wednesday the parliamentarians will also hear EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. “The deputies will hold an annual debate on the key targets of European foreign, defence and security policy. This will be the first strategic review of the situation since the beginning of last year's changes in the sphere of security and policy at the community’s eastern boundaries,” said the EP members. “The parliamentarians during the year will adopt a resolution based on the Mogherini report.”
In addition to internal European problems, on which the current session will mainly focus, the lawmakers will also analyse the situation outside the EU. So, on Tuesday the European Parliament will hold a debate on the situation in Libya with Mogherini’s participation and on Wednesday - debates on Ukraine and Egypt. On Thursday, the parliamentarians will adopt separate resolutions on the three countries.
In addition, on January 15, the European Parliament within the debate on human rights violations will discuss the situation in Russia, in particular, the case of Russian opposition blogger Aleksei Navalny. It will adopt a resolution on the discussion results.
On Tuesday, a memorial ceremony dedicated to the release of prisoners of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland’s Oswiecim in January 1945 will be held during the European Parliament session. President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz is expected to make an official statement before the ceremony.
The European Parliament session will end on Thursday, January 15.