ladies and gentlemen!
I am delighted that my group has chosen Riga for this bureau meeting. A warm welcome to you all, especially those visiting Latvia for the first time.
18 months ago the challenge was thrown into my hands to lead Latvia’s government in a time of deep crisis. I left my stable seat in the European Parliament and returned to Riga. Looking back, I remember the invaluable role of the European People’s Party and especially you, Mr Chairman. Thanks to your strong support, it was possible to accomplish difficult reforms and gradually restore international confidence in Latvia’s future. It is not an exaggeration to say that Joseph Daul was personally involved in saving Latvia from greater financial difficulty. I also have to mention the people of Latvia, who have shown surprising acceptance and patience for the major reforms they have endured.