The Politics of Differentiated Integration: What do Governments Want? Country Report - Latvia

Kārlis Bukovskis, Aleksandra Palkova, Ieva Vārna

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

The research investigates the salience and position of the Latvian government and the parliament on the differentiated integration (DI) of the EU. The results attest that differentiated integration (DI) is a very low-salience issue in Latvia. It has occasionally appeared in parliamentary debates and rarely in government programmes. The issue of DI became more prominent in Latvian political debate after 2012. This was largely due to debate on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union and Latvia’s preparations for the introduction of the euro. The salience of DI models was highest during political crises in the domestic and global political arenas. Specific instances of DI were more often mentioned than differentiated integration in general, although there was little or no in-depth discussion of the DI instances either. Politicians have rarely discussed DI models, except for the ideas of a European core and a two-speed/multi-speed Europe. On Latvia's position, one can conclude that Latvia advocates closer EU integration and equal conditions for all the Member States. Differentiated integration is not in Latvia's interests: since Latvia’s accession to the EU, the country has positioned itself as wishing to avoid different integration speeds in Europe as it fears that Latvia would be left behind by the western European countries for subjective reasons or following objective criteria. Latvia’s outlook on DI in the EU experienced adjustments when the Baltic country joined the eurozone in 2014. In the most recent years Latvian politicians emphasised that the preferred solution was participation by all countries in EU policy initiatives. Meanwhile differentiated integration could be an opportunity to move forward in certain areas. Public discussions in Latvia on DI and the future of Europe in general have lacked depth most of the time, although the most recent couple of years have shown a tendency of their quality to improve.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean University Institute
Number of pages51
Volume38
ISBN (Electronic)1028-3625
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEUI Robert Schuman Centre Working Papers
PublisherEuropean University Institute
Volume38
ISSN (Electronic)1028-3625

Keywords*

  • European Union
  • Latvia
  • Differentiated integration
  • Opt-out

Field of Science*

  • 5.6 Political science

Publication Type*

  • 6. Other publications

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