«It would be best to form a new Cabinet of Ministers this year. The new team of ministers should focus more on work that needs to be done in their each separate industry, not involve themselves in political intrigues to avoid giving explanations to the population in regards to rushed or delayed decisions. This is especially true to the situation with airBaltic’s investor,» – said President of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics Inga Antane.
«I believe this kind of strategically and economically important decisions should be made rationally and constructively, looking at all possible options and in consideration of the industry’s best interest,» – she added.
«Transport Ministry, which represents one of Latvia’s most valuable industries, has been working without a minister for more than a month. It is unacceptable in a situation when there are strategically important matters to resolve: change of management in Latvijas dzelzceļš, equalisation of railway infrastructure tariffs, strengthening of international competitiveness and realization of international initiatives Latvia has planned,» – Antane told Ir portal.
She believes »it is currently vital to find a competent, professional and experienced minister, one that would be capable of representing the industry’s interests and resolve internal and external matters. The new Transport Minister should work with the industry much closer than before and help realize a policy aimed at the industry’s development. The minister should also strive to continue the realization of measures to equalize LDz tariffs.»
BATL had emphasized multiple times in the past that it is vital to review the non-competitive and outdated railway infrastructure tariffs. Latvia has one of the highest tariff rates in the European Union – EUR 9.97 per railway kilometer (EUR 7.14 in Lithuania and EUR 4.63 in Estonia). Because of the current tariffs, Latvia loses cargoes worth millions and the potential to further develop the economy, emphasizes Antane.
«In order to improve the industry’s development and international competitiveness, it is necessary to create a single vision about the development of Latvia as a transit country in a long-term perspective, which would allow Latvia to hold talks with interested parties from all over the world. I would like to say once again that it was following BATL’s proposal that former Prime Minister of Latvia Laimdota Straujuma reached an agreement in China, making sure Latvia would take on the role of a coordinator in the 16+1 format.
The next minister would have to tackle the matter regarding EU funding for the next planning period immediately after taking office. Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis has also emphasized the importance of this matter, saying that otherwise Latvia’s largest investment projects would be at risk. For example, Latvia’s Transport Ministry supervises the project for the electrification of Latvia’s railway network. The project’s investments are measured in more than EUR 407 million, which are currently being processed in the ministry,» – said Antane.
«The new minister should be a competent professional with a strong backbone and be capable of working with industry representatives behind a single table, looking at and using all development perspectives of the industry to make Latvia one of the leading countries on the world’s transit map,» – said BATL representative.