BRUSSELS - Today, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso met with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, confirming the European Commission's readiness to observe the Baltic States' interests.
The Baltic leaders met with Barroso to emphasize the Baltic States' joint interests regarding the European Union's multi-annual budget for 2014-2020, LETA was informed by Dombrovskis' press secretary Martins Panke.
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia believe that, within the EU's next budget, the Baltic States should receive cohesion funding at least in the same amount as now in order to ensure that their economies are able to faster approach those of the more developed EU regions. In addition, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia agree that the Common Agricultural Policy must be made fairer, particularly regarding direct area payments, so that no EU member state would receive less than the minimum level of direct payments of 80 percent of the average level across the EU.
Barroso explained that the Baltic States' concerns have been heard, and lauded the countries' capability of agreeing on joint priorities and pursuing them. Commenting on the bloc's cohesion policy, he confirmed the European Commission's readiness to consider and support a special solution for the Baltic States. Barroso pointed out that he sees some possibilities regarding the Common Agricultural Policy, both in terms of direct area payments and rural development.