On 9 January 2015, an official inauguration of European Year for Development (EYD) 2015 was held in Riga, the capital of Latvia, a country which took over the EU Council presidency on 1 January 2015.
EU representatives took part in the EYD 2015 opening ceremony at the National Library of Latvia. Keynote addresses were delivered by Laimdota Straujuma, Prime Minister of Latvia; Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission; Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and Linda McAvan, Chair of the Committee on Development in the European Parliament. Poland was represented by Zuzanna Kierzkowska, Director of the MFA’s Department of Development Cooperation.
In her speech, Federica Mogherini said that “work for development is not charity, but our mutual interest.” Jean-Claude Juncker underlined that “the challenges we face are climate change, migration, radicalism, viruses such as Ebola, all of which know no boundaries. Our response requires unity. Our policy must be adapted in such a way so as to see us through these challenges.”
In the afternoon hours, discussion panels were held about the EYD’s role in dialogue development regarding effects, benefits and challenges of sustainable development cooperation, transparency, good governance, and effective spending.
Finally, Homi Kharasa from the Brookings Institution delivered a lecture as part of Kapuściński Development Lectures. The Kapuściński Development Lectures series are a joint initiative of the European Commission, United Nations Development Programme, and European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes. Their aim is increasing awareness and social support for development policy in European Union member states by using subject-matter experts.