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Friday 20.01.2017 | Name days: Aļģirds, Orests, Oļģerts, Alģis

Changes brewing in Eurozone – small countries may have even less say

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEurozone, in which Latvia has been a member for the past two years, stands before serious changes. At the moment the majority of comments on this matter are found in British press – likely because this country, under David Cameron’s rule, wishes to review relations with Brussels.

There is also information found in French and German press. This is because the supposed changes are already called the French-German model.

It is possible this model could speed up decision-making processes and affect Eurozone member states in different political field. However, it is not known how faster decision making will be achieved and whether or not it will reduce the influence of small and poor European countries, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

It was not simple for the programme to acquire information on these processes. Many involved officials – foreign minister, Prime Minister and her bureau – were evasive and spoke in bureaucratic language. However, there are concerns that there may be other reasons for their reluctance to speak of these matters – insignificant influence in this process and, perhaps even worse, next to no knowledge of the processes that could soon affect everyone’s lives in the EU.

It is known that changes will be executed in a way that would not require review of the main agreements in the EU and Eurozone. Therefore, there is no need for referendums or ratification in parliaments of member states. Expected changes will nonetheless be massive in order to strengthen political processes. Decision-making processes may become more effective; faster as well.

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma denies concerns that Latvia may lack sufficient information about such processes and influence over them.

What is meant here is that there are two mutually beneficial processes. One applies to Eurozone’s finance and banking field. What information is available show that processes will influence bank supervision and supranational institutions in the field of finances and financial policies. The second is the so-called five presidents’ report – a report from heads of the European Commission, European Council, Central Bank, Eurozone and European Parliament – which covers the largest segments of political processes in Eurozone, budget and security policies.

«We had only been provided with the basic idea during the General Affairs Council. My work ethics allow me to comment only the things I’ve seen in writing, not verbally voiced ideas,» – said Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

Latvian MEP Roberts Zile allows that there is a reason to be concerned about the level of influence smaller member states have over the process and Latvia’s competence in reacting to different proposals. On top of that, ignoring Eurozone countries, one would ask what might happen to those that remain on the outside.

«I think Latvia has to pull itself together, especially while Latvia is the presiding country […] We may expect unpleasant processes. Why unpleasant? Because small countries will likely have even less say in different matters. One doubts whether or not small countries will be provided with more budget shares under budget solidarity. If not, there will be only negatives. The same applies to the matter of refugees. They burden the EU in a geopolitical sense. Poland has no intention of joining, and they are one of our largest partners against Russia. We have lost them. If the French-German process goes dramatically and ends up separating non-Eurozone from Eurozone, we will end up in a dangerous situation. We will end up helping Russia break the strength of the European Union. Latvian Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister should be very analytical,» – said Latvian MEP Roberts Zile.

Politologist Andris Spruds notes that there is reason for concern over the process that is locked away from society. However, the question is what will follow all this? «There is no reason to be too concerned over all this. But we need to consider what could follow. […] This is why we should follow the process as best we can,» – said Spruds.

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