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Even though no agreement was made at EU summit, Dombrovskis promises to continue defending Latvia's interests

Valdis Dombrovskis, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: AFP.
 BRUSSELS, Nov 24 - Even though no agreement was made during yesterday's European Summit on the bloc's next multi-annual budget, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis promises to continue defending Latvia's interests.
The prime minister said that he has submitted in writing Latvia's position to EU President Herman Van Rompuy.
In regards to Latvia's priorities - adequate cohesion funding and fairer direct payments, the prime minister admitted that ''some progress has been made''.
''But some improvements must still be made for this position to be acceptable for Latvia,'' the PM added.
The next round of EU budget talks could take place in January.
The prime minister said that he doubts whether the proposals made to Latvia will become worse in the next round of talks. ''We must continue to work to improve this offer,'' Dombrovskis added.
Evaluating the summit as a whole, Dombrovskis said that ''we have taken a step forward''. He said every country was prepared to talk and no one dictated their own conditions. Dombrovskis also said that every country was willing to back down a bit from their positions.
The AFP news agency reports that talks on the European Union's trillion euro budget ended in deadlock Friday when leaders of the 27-nation bloc failed to overcome seemingly irreconcilable differences on spending.
Van Rompuy insisted however that progress had been made in the two days of bitter bargaining. He forecast that a deal would be made when leaders meet again next year.
Tensions between rich and poor states over funding for economic development and Britain's strident demands for cuts in the mammoth budget -- covering seven years from 2014 to 2020 -- had set the summit on a rocky course from the start.
An EU diplomat said the main obstacle at the summit was Cameron's demand for reductions in the planned trillion dollar budget, with Sweden and the Netherlands the other "virulent" countries seeking cuts.
As reported, Latvia wants Brussels to introduce fair direct payments to farmers, stipulating that the lowest payments must constitute at least 80 percent of the average amount of the EU direct payments already in 2014. At the moment, Latvian farmers receive the smallest direct payments in the EU, LVL 63 per hectare or less, while the average figure in Europe is EUR 266 or LVL 186 per hectare.
Regarding the maximum amount of cohesion funds, Latvia is being offered 2.59 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Latvia's goal is to retain the current level of cohesion funds - EUR 4.7 billion (LVL 3.3 billion) in 2014-2020. To achieve this, the maximum amount of cohesion funds must be set at 2.9 percent of GDP.
leta.lv 
24-11-2012
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