Opin­ion: multi-speed de­vel­op­ment idea in Europe is not in Latvia’s in­ter­ests

Baltic News Network - - Front Page -

The idea of hav­ing a multi-speed Europe, as de­scribed in the Rome dec­la­ra­tion signed by EU mem­ber states, does not com­ply with Latvia’s in­ter­ests, says pres­i­dent of Euro­pean Move­ment – Latvia An­dris Gobins.

He notes that un­til now EU lead­ers have been those who in­flu­enced Europe’s de­vel­op­ment the most. Be­cause of that, yes­ter­day’s doc­u­ment is «far more im­por­tant and con­sid­er­able» than EC Pres­i­dent JeanClaude Juncker’s pro­posed mod­els. Gobins says that the dec­la­ra­tion de­tails Euro­pean lead­ers’ favour to­wards a mul­ti­speed Euro­pean model, adding also that Europe will de­velop at equal pace, but if a need arises, de­vel­op­ment may be per­formed at dif­fer­ent speeds.

«That one is the most im­por­tant sen­tence with far-go­ing con­se­quences. I be­lieve it does not com­ply with Latvia’s in­ter­ests, be­cause any multi-speed de­vel­op­ment in Europe

could mean a pe­riph­eral role, not core role, for cer­tain mem­ber states,» says the Euro­pean ac­tivist.

Gobins also says that as soon as groups work­ing in cer­tain fields ap­pear it will be­come harder to con­vince other part­ner about pre­serv­ing the idea of Euro­pean funds and co­he­sion pol­icy, which is used to help the poor­est coun­tries in the union. Ac­cord­ing to him, this prin­ci­ple would be weak­ened by the multi-speed Europe idea. EKL pres­i­dent com­mented that Latvia should stick to the idea that united de­vel­op­ment of Europe is what the union needs the most, and that the multi-speed idea should be viewed ‘as a for­mal­ity that re­mains in force but is not ac­tu­ally re­al­ized’. When asked about the dec­la­ra­tion’s state­ment on sol­i­dar­ity and unity, Gobins men­tioned that sol­i­dar­ity is used in Europe in dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions. «The dec­la­ra­tion men­tions EU’s fu­ture and de­vel­op­ment in the next ten years, propos­ing how it should be. Sol­i­dar­ity ap­pears in a dif­fer­ent light in this case – it ap­pears in re­la­tion to un­em­ploy­ment com­bat­ing,» notes the pres­i­dent of EKL.

Pres­i­dent of Fin­land Sauli Ni­in­istö and Pres­i­dent of Es­to­nia Ker­sti Kalju­laid sup­port the multi-speed Europe model and view it as an ac­cept­able po­lit­i­cal direc­tion. This be­lief is jus­ti­fied with the fact that coun­tries that co­op­er­ate more closely with one an­other leave the door open for other mem­ber states.

Evija Tri­fanova/LETA

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