Welcome to the homepage of European Movement – Latvia!
Here you will find basic information in English about the European Movement -Latvia (EML) and its activities. For more information, please refer to the Latvian version or contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone/fax: +371-67326548.
WHO WE ARE
European Movement – Latvia, founded in 1997, is one of the biggest and most influential NGOs in Latvia working in the political sphere. EML works in order to
- improve representation of Latvia’s interests in the EU and cooperation with other European countries,
- foster European awareness in Latvia,
- and to support civil society and its participation in decision-making both in Latvia and in Europe.
The EML is a member of the European Movement International
The EML was founded in Rīga by 18 enthusiasts in 1997; currently it unites more than 700 natural and legal persons, with 11 regional branches throughout Latvia. Already at the time of its founding, the EML aimed to foster informed public discussions on EU issues and positive attitude towards the EU in Latvia. Public support would be particularly crucial at the referendum on EU accession. Indeed, the EML played a key role in the run-up to the referendum, which was held in 2003. The EML also helped to organize the Latvian National Convention on the Future of Europe in 2002 and co-chaired it together with the Prime Minister.
After joining the EU in May 2004, the EML continued its work on informing society, promoting links between Latvia and the rest of Europe as well as defending Latvia’s interests within the EU. It also intensified support to the civil society and contributed to creating new mechanisms of civic participation.
Here, the Cooperation Memorandum between NGOs and the Cabinet of Ministers (2005), as well as Parliament’s Declaration on Development of Civil Society in Latvia and Cooperation with NGOs (2006) should be mentioned – both documents envisage regular meetings between the respective institutions and NGOs. In 2009, in close collaboration with several NGO partners, work on a new, all-encompassing mechanism of civic engagement was started. The process is currently underway, having received approval and support from the government. Another landmark in the EML’s work was membership of its president, Andris Gobiņš, in the European Economic and Social Committee since 2010, which opened new possibilities for networking and influencing both Latvian and European agenda. The EML also takes part in creating the National Development Plan for 2014-2020, and Mr. Gobiņš ir one of the members of the presidential Commission for Strategic Development. Work is also continued in other fora.
The EML regularly carries out greater and smaller projects, some of which are already a trademark of the organization, as well as various non-project activities. Examples are:
– European of the Year in Latvia – project dating back to 1998, with a public vote for the person who has most contributed to strengthening links between Latvia and the rest of Europe. The contest has attracted wide public and media attention. Prominent people from different fields hold the title, including former President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, singers Renārs Kaupers and Marija Naumova, current EU Development Commissionner Andris Piebalgs, etc.
– Europe Day. The EML started the tradition celebrating the Europe Day in Latvia back in 1998 together with youth organization Club “The House” – Youth for United Europe. The EML not only assists in preparing and takes part in the EU festivities in Vērmanes Garden (Rīga), but also organizes public events in the regions as well as high-level discussions, conferences and receptions.
– European Voluntary Service (EVS) and promotion of the European Year of Volunteering in schools. Since 2008, the EML is an accredited EVS sending organization, but a hosting organization already since 2006. So far EML has hosted five international volunteers and has sent more than 25 Latvian volunteers to other European countries. The EML actively promotes the program at various youth events, and in 2010-2011 it also carried out a series of presentations on volunteerism and EVS in more than 50 regional schools.
– Work in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). President of the EML, Andris Gobiņš, became a member of the EESC in October 2010, joining Group III (Various Interests). Mr Gobiņš currently works in three sections – Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN), Section for External Relations (REX) and Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC); his full profile can be accessed on the EESC web page here. Current priorities are promoting the EESC in Latvia, as well opening up the EESC and other EU institutions to European civil society, e.g. ensuring live video streaming and possibility to comment all EESC proceedings. A particular priority for the EML is fully implementing Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union.
– Strengthening civil society in Latvia. The EML stands for strong and active civil society as well as open and democratic public governance. The EML, often in cooperation with other civil society partners, has already achieved several improvements in existing mechanisms of participation. Now a top priority is developing and implementing a new, unified model (mechanism) of civic participation which would encompass regional, national and EU/international levels. The work has been underway since 2009, with the EML being constantly involved at the highest level. The EML sustains cooperation with the Saeima (Parliament), the Cabinet of Ministers and the State Chancellery, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Science (national coordinator of the European Year of Volunteering) and other governance institutions, as well as with the European Parliament Information Office in Latvia and the Representation of the European Commission in Latvia.
– Information activities. The EML regularly publishes news and updates on its webpage, as well as electronically distributes its weekly newsletter (more than 2 300 recipients). The organization cooperates with Latvian and foreign mass media, takes part in and organizes public events, etc.
- Andris Gobiņš – President, member of the European Economic and Social Committee
- Valdis Lokenbahs – Vicepresident
- Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica – board member
- Rihards Kols – board member
- Diāna Potjomkina – board member
- Elīna Pinto – board member
- Alberts Prikulis – board member
- Liene Valdmane – project manager / counsellor,
European Movement – Latvia / Eiropas Kustība Latvijā
Merķeļa iela, 13
Rīga, LV-1050, Latvija
Tel./fax: + 371 – 67 326 548