Brussels, 8 September 2003
EU Cohesion Policy in Latvia: negotiations of the Single Programming Document will start on 9 September in Riga
The European Commission today announced the launch of the first round of negotiations with Latvia on future Structural Funds assistance. Negotiations will start tomorrow in Riga. They will aim at finding an agreement on the Single Programming Document (SPD), the document containing the strategy and priorities for action under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the years 2004 to 2006. In a letter of 24 July addressed to Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Minister of Finance, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, set out the main lines of the Commission position on the draft Single Programming Document submitted by Latvia.
In his letter, Michel Barnier wrote: “As a result of the work by your authorities, the draft Single Programming Document represents a start for the negotiations that lie ahead. I very much share your view that in seeking to close the gaps with the rest of the Union, priority needs to be given to investments in areas that contribute to faster economic growth and job creation. It is therefore all the more important that we reach an early agreement allowing the Single Programming Document to be agreed in good time so that implementation on the ground can begin as soon as possible taking into account that eligibility of expenditure under this programme starts on 1 January 2004”.
More than euro 1.1 billion for the promotion of infrastructure investment, the productive sector, competitiveness and measures for generating growth and creating jobs.
On the basis of the decisions of the Copenhagen European Council last December, about euro 625 million will be allocated to Latvia under the EU Structural Funds and some euro 520 million under the Cohesion Fund.
Objective 1 of the Structural Funds is devoted to promoting the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind. The Single Programming Document for Latvia will mainly concentrate on promoting the development of infrastructure, productive sector and competitiveness, as well as on human resources development. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will co-finance major transport and environmental infrastructure projects.
Latvia as a whole is eligible under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the period 2004-06. The entire territory of the country is also eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund.
The Structural Funds comprise four individual Funds: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), Guidance Section, and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). All of them should contribute to the financing of the Single Programming Document (SPD) in Latvia. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will support projects in the fields of environment and transport infrastructure projects of common interest (trans-European networks).
The SPD describes the socio-economic context of the country, defines and justifies the strategy, priorities and objectives to be achieved and outlines the system for the management, monitoring, evaluation, financial management and control of the programmes.
During the negotiations, the Commission will seek to streamline the strategy on the basis of the up-dated socio-economic analysis and will ensure a high level of coherence and co-ordination between the priorities, taking into account absorption capacity in the various areas concerned. Clarification will also be sought on the implementation structure for the programme as a whole and on the individual measures.
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