Commissioner Piebalgs debates with Latvians about EU's future
Today, the Commissioner Piebalgs participated in 35th Citizen's Dialogue which took place in his home country - Latvia. The Citizen's Dialogue is a series of discussions in which European Commissioners are participating all over the EU in order to ask directly European citizens for their views on the future and challenges of Europe.
In a two hours-long debate in Riga, together with Latvian Defence Minister Dr Artis Pabriks, the Commissioner answered questions on key issues such as Latvia's accession to the Eurozone, its consequences for Latvian inhabitants and Latvia's economy, youth unemployment and its possible solutions. Furthermore, retirement policy in Latvia and in the EU as well as forthcoming European Parliament's elections in 2014 were discussed.
Commissioner Piebalgs highlighted that Latvia should invest in science and research to boost productivity and competitiveness, as well as to prevent the qualified specialists and scientists from leaving the country.
During the debate it was underlined that Latvia received support of up to 3.5 billion euro from the EU since its accession in 2004. Participants agreed that Latvia used its funding efficiently investing in diverse projects, e.g. building schools and roads, and welcomed the accession to the Eurozone as it will not only bring economic benefits, but will also give the country a bigger role in the decision making process.