On 9 May, on Europe Day, the presentation of the book “Return to Europe 1990-2015. From international recognition to the first presidency in the European Union” took place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in presence of the authors.

The book comprises essays by Latvian Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, former highest representatives of Latvia to the EU institutions, diplomats, and public employees. The way gone by Latvia to accession to the EU and NATO, and the first decade in the European Union and the first presidency in the Council of the European Union has been described by Valdis Dombrovskis, Sandra Kalniete, Edgars Rinkevics, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Guntis Ulmanis, Valdis Birkavs, Maris Riekstins, Andris Kesteris, Ilze Juhansone, Inna Steinbuka, Kristine Kozlova, Solvita Harbacevica and Edvins Inkens.

In the book, Solvita Harbacevica, the Adviser on EU issues of the Division of Case-law and Research of the Supreme Court, tells about acquisition of legislation of the European Union in Latvian legislation and law. Between 1995 and 2000, she had held different position in the European Integration Bureau, spending the longest period in the office of the Director of Bureau for Harmonization of Legislation. In 2000-2002, she had been the Deputy Secretary of the State of the Ministry of Justice, the member of the Meeting of senior public officials and the delegation for negotiations on accession, and the Deputy Head of the working group on amendments to the Constitution (on issues related to accession to the European Union).

“In the beginning of 90’s, when Latvia adopted a political decision on accession to the European Union, we did not entirely recognise how long and difficult this way would be.  To make this membership possible, it was necessary to reform the state dramatically during the following decade – its legal system, civil service, and judiciary,” Solvita Harbacevica remembers. She outlines main steps that were taken both by the European Union and Latvia to come to historical May of 2004, when Latvia, together with nine other countries entered the European Union. Grounding on her work experience, Solvita Harbacevica mainly addresses the transformation of Latvian legal system – harmonization of legislation, amendments to the Constitution, influence of European integration process to civil service and judiciary.

Speaking about the judiciary, the author points out that it was initially clear that, when accessing the European Union, Latvian legal system would become the element of mechanism for implementation of the EU law. If institutions or Member States of the European Union had serious doubts regarding the efficiency of Latvian court system, it would become an essential problem on the way of Latvia to the European Union. “In last 15 years, lot of things have been done in strengthening of Latvian judiciary – both from the point of view of optimal administration of system and when solving efficiency problems in each court. It is not popular opinion, however, the Latvian court system is neither the worst, nor the slowest in Europe,” Solvita Harbacevica points out.

The book “Return to Europe 1990-2015. From international recognition to the first presidency in the European Union” was published in cooperation with the European Commission, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) in the European Parliament and Latvian Association of Political Scientists. The book will be delivered to all Latvian higher educational institutions, secondary schools and professional secondary schools, and to all Latvian public libraries. E-version of the book is available to each Internet user in the digital library of the Latvian National Library: http://dom.lndb.lv/data/obj/67712.html (in Latvian language)

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211