On 1 January 2015, Latvia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Main strategic objectives

The main strategic objectives of the Latvian Presidency are the following:

  • Competitive Europe: To work on the Investment Plan for Europe; continue the work on strengthening the Single Market; launch discussions and start working on the Energy Union; promote industrial competitiveness.
  • Digital Europe: To advance data protection; work on the Telecommunications market package; start discussions on the Digital Single Market strategy.
  • Engaged Europe: To facilitate the review of the Neighbourhood Policy; move forward with the transatlantic partnership; focus on post-2015 development goals.

In line with the 18-month programme of the trio-presidency (Italy-Latvia-Luxemburg), the Latvian Presidency will focus on the on-going midterm review of the EU2020 Strategy with an emphasis on the implementation of structural reforms embedded in the country-specific recommendations (CSR).

The Presidency will also put a particular emphasis on:

  • Strengthening the Eastern Partnership, by ensuring closer political ties also in the field of better education;
  • Reviewing the EU-Central Asia Strategy, by enhancing the EU engagement also through discussions on educational exchange.

Main priorities in Education and Youth

The Latvian Presidency aims to strengthen the educational agenda by developing a closer link between EU2020 Strategy and ET2020strategic Framework.

The Presidency will focus on:

  • Discussions to assess the overall progress and establish priority areas in the Joint Report 2015 on the implementation of ET2020;
  • Vocational education and training;
  • Internationalisations of higher education, by strengthening cooperation between European and Asian countries;
  • Evaluation of the Bologna process in the field of higher education;
  • Role of early childhood and primary education in fostering creativity, innovation and digital skills;
  • Accessibility of education and effectiveness of investments;
  • Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications;
  • Education to health for children and adolescences – eg. school meals;
  • Research and innovation: enhancement of ERA (European Research Area) and the optimal use of public investments in research.

Key legislative actions

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council will meet on 18 May, 2015. The following topics will be discussed:

  • Adoption of the 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020), including priorities for 2015-2017.
  • Adoption of Draft Council conclusions of the role of early childhood equation and primary education in fostering creativity, innovation and digital skills
  • Public debate on transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications for mobility and employability.

The Economic and Financial affairs Council meeting on 10 March will discuss the following issues:

  • General approach on the Investment Plan for Europe
  • Political agreement on the Proposal for a Council directive on the Financial Transaction Tax
  • Presentation by the Commission of the Europe 2020 Strategy review
  • Presentation by the Commission and exchange of views on the European Semester – Implementation of key structural reforms.

The Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry, Research and Space) Council meeting on 28/29 May, 2015 will focus on:

  • Adoption of Draft Council conclusions on the European Research Area: Roadmap – a way towards reinforced ERA and on better governance for the European Research Area.
  • Adoption of Draft Council conclusions Towards open and data intensive research.

We underline the importance of the meeting of the General Affairs Council meeting on 23 June, 2015, as it will approve the Country-specific Recommendations of the European Semester, including recommendations on Education and Training.

The programme of the Presidency

Provisional agendas for Council meetings, during the second semester of 2014

Twitter: @eu2015lv