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Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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Berzins predicts tough talks during approval of next year’s budget

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Immediately after elections, in meeting with elected parties in the Saeima, my position was clear and direct: reach an agreement on the coalition and the government, so that it would be possible to approve a new Cabinet of Ministers on one of the first Saeima meetings. This objective was not simple, but it was nonetheless achieved. I would like to ask the Saeima not to delay the approval of the government, because there is a lot of work to do. It cannot wait,» – said Latvian President Andris Berzins in his speech to deputies of the 12th Saeima.

According to him, «One of the first priorities the 12th Saeima should tackle will be the approval of the budget for 2015. Similar to previous years, we can expect tough talks that will be influenced not only by the situation in Latvia, but also events outside of Latvia. The global situation, the situation in Europe and the situation in the Baltic Sea region have changed drastically over the past year. The matter of security has become the most important one. Budget priorities now hinge on it. It is also important to keep in minds that it is not possible to live properly here without a good level of education and affordable healthcare. Securing all this is the government’s duty – voters have entrusted you to this task. This is why I urge you to keep in mind that the lives of everyone living in Latvia depend on your work in the Saeima. Think of that when you begin working on the budget.

In the first half of 2015, Latvia will be the presiding country in the European Union Council. With that, the work of the Saeima European Affairs Committee will become even more intense than before. This highest possible ability to demonstrate during presidency is the ability to demonstrate your country’s level of responsibility and lead important processes, defend priorities and vision for the future of Europe. There is no doubt that the European Union now stands before many changes.»

«This Saeima will have to significantly strengthen work with European institutions, especially in regard to evaluation of influence of new EU initiatives on Latvia.

There is a much higher possibility of the need to provide more attention to healthcare, education and energy in the near future. These areas are the ones nearly all political parties had named as their priorities during the pre-election period. These areas are also ones that have the most problems.

The expected liberalization of Latvia’s gas market is especially important for energy. Decisions in this regard have to be aimed at maximum compliance with public interests. When deciding on the proportion of renewable energy sources, it is important to maintain a similar principle in order for there not to be an excessive burden for residents. Climate and energy policy for 2020-2030 has been developed in order to make sure EU’s economy and energy becomes more competitive, safe and sustainable. However, talks that took place in Brussels last week do not provide certainty that the result will come out as intended. There are reasons to be concerned that Europe risks reducing its competitiveness even more. Even its impact on Latvia’s economy has not been sufficiently analysed. These decisions will impact all of us in a long-term perspective. This includes residents and businessmen. This is why it is important to carefully analyse everything,» – said Berzins.

[…]«Every country’s political foundation lies in strong and sustainable parties. Unfortunately, this is no something Latvia can be proud of when compared to other countries. This is why it is necessary to carry out amendments to our legislation in order to improve stability and responsibility of parties. I plan to submit a legislative initiative this month. It provides improvements to activities of political parties and overall election system, offering several specific initiatives.

I am also certain that it is necessary to come back to the previous Saeima’s proposed amendments to the Constitution, Cabinet of Ministers rules and Saeima order the goal of which is to provide stronger and more responsible executive power. This especially applies to increasing the role of the Prime Minister in minister selection. I urge the 12th Saeima to strengthen executive power to make state administration more efficient and rational, so that we can finally comply with Section 55 of the Constitution.

I welcome the new composition of the Saeima, which, considering the proportion of deputies who gained experience while working in municipal governments, can potentially consolidate state administration and municipalities by carrying out amendments to help increase their role in executive power in general,» – said the President.

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