Gunta Pastore, Leadership through the European Union Council Presidency: Latvia and Central Asia – Riga: Latvian Institute of International Affairs, 2016. – 18 p.
This report offers additional insights into how small states punch above their weight in the European Union (EU) through the Council presidency. It draws lessons from the Latvian presidency during the first half of 2015. Specifically, it analyses how Latvia pursued Central Asia as the presidency’s priority. Findings show that as the office holder, Latvia achieved its goals. Its leadership in the EU Central Asia dossier was visible. Latvia pushed for an updating of the EU Central Asia Strategy, moving towards a more strategic and goal-oriented Union approach, and promoted the EU practical engagement in the region. Latvia’s success was made possible by its close cooperation with EU institutions, using like-minded coalition with Member States, and by persuasive advocacy in Central Asia. Findings show that despite the strengthened role of EU institutions in the post-Lisbon external action system, the Council presidency remains an important source of power for small Member States to exert influence within the EU.