Latviski English По-русски
Tuesday 20.03.2018 | Name days: Made, Irbe

BNN summary of the week: Kucinskis in Ridzene’s room and government’s rushed decisions

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Truth; Business and Growth.

CHANGE: Antane says government has set ‘checkmate’ for Latvia’s transport industry

With plans to increase excise tax on fuel, the government has set ‘checkmate’ to Latvia’s transport industry and transit sector. Instead of the awaited tax revenue compensation, Latvia risks considerably reducing the competitiveness of the industry that brings in one billion euros to the economy every year, says Inga Antane, President of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics.

«Considering that fuel price forms a very important component for railway cargo transports, up to 30% of the price – increasing costs to make Latvia’s transit corridor more expensive is insane,» Antane says.

She notes that in a situation when cargo volumes from Russia are already in rapid decline, any upward changes to the transit corridor’s costs would have catastrophic consequences for the competitiveness of Latvian ports and railway.

«When making its decision on increasing excise tax for fuel, the government should have assessed all possible risks for the country’s economy. The government also should have consulted with industry representatives before making any decisions. Unfortunately, it seems this decision was made irresponsibly and was rushed out the gate without any reason. Did the government at least calculate the effect on railway transports? How much will we lose from the possible cargo loss, and how will we compensate this loss?» Antane adds.

Full article here

BUSINESS: Latvia signs minister declaration on 5G

On Tuesday, 18 July, a meeting of the informal council of EU Competitiveness and Telecommunications Ministers took place in Tallinn. During this meeting, members of the council signed a minister declaration on 5G. Latvia was represented by Transport Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Edgars Tavars, as BNN was informed by the ministry.

Signing the declaration, EU telecommunications ministers thereby demonstrated the intention to make Europe the leading region in the world for the development of 5G market.

The declaration provides for an agreement on specific steps EU member states are committed to make in order to assist with the development of 5G and services associated with it. Latvian Transport Ministry notes that this declaration will enhance general guidelines for the development of 5G standards and will set the foundation for dialogues with interested parties about 5G matters.

Full article here

FIGHT: Delna believes Duklavs’ remainder in power shames the entire Cabinet of Ministers

Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs’ remainder in his current post shames the entire Cabinet of Ministers and only serves to reduce society’s trust in the government, believes Delna – Society for Openness.

On Tuesday, 18 July, Delna sent Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis an open letter with a request to request Duklavs’ and Transport Minister Uldis Augulis dismissal in relation to the so-called Oligarch talks, which, according to Delna, is evidence of possible violations.

According to publicly available information, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in cooperation with State Revenue Service have commenced inspections in relation to information detailed in Oligarch talks, specifically in relation to Duklavs’ owned property on the territory of Riga Freeport. Delna believes Duklavs’ remainder in his post shames the entire Cabinet of Ministers and reduces society’s trust in the government.

It is also mentioned in the letter that Ridzene talks were attended by other noteworthy Latvian politicians – Duklavs and Augulis. On top of that, both ministers met with Russian Vice-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich last summer without first informing the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Delna notes that Kucinskis was asked about that meeting. No answer followed. Because of that, Delna believes Kucinskis «hid information about the government’s motives from society, which can be interpreted as support of interests of individual parties».

Full article here

TRUTH: Kucinskis also met with Slesers in the infamous meeting room of Ridzene hotel

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis admits having met with Ainars Slesers in the now infamous meeting room in Ridzene hotel a couple of times, specifically when the People’s Party made the decision to join Par labu Latviju.

In his interview to Ir magazine, the prime minister said he was the leader of the People’s Party Saeima faction at the time, and even then it seemed to him the party was not too trusting of him.

«I understood Slesers’ style and I knew his sense of personal greatness is considerable. I also wanted to sort things out. Business in politics – this is what happened,» says Kucinskis.

He met with Slesers during the pre-election period. The deciphered talks recorded in Ridzene imply Slesers proposed forming a coalition with Harmony centre. Kucinskis, on the other hand, mentioned in his interview that there was no support for this idea.

«I also remember walking with Mr. Ulmanis during the campaign. Now it’s about Harmony – we agreed with the ex-president that there would not be any support for it. A lot is exaggerated in comparison with what someone would have wanted,» said Kucinskis.

Full article here

GROWTH: Saeima deputies sign agreement on Oligarch talks committee’s formation

So far only parliament members have signed the agreement on the formation of a Saeima committee for the investigation of Oligarch talks. Neither of them represents Unity – Karlis Serzants from Union of Greens and Farmers and Einars Cilinskis from VL-TB/LNNK.

18 out of 34 necessary signatures have been collected so far. Still, it is expected that deputies that are not present in the parliament today will sign the agreement tomorrow.

Only then the Saeima will be able to decide on the formation of this parliamentary committee.

Full article here

Leave a reply

MEP: fair competition should be secured for all European farmers

Sixteen members of the European Parliament from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland submitted a joint proposal on Monday, 19 March, for a resolution regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy with a request to equalize the level of direct payments across all of Europe starting from 2021.

Estonia prison sentence upheld to Syrian man for causing burns to wife

In the Estonian criminal case, where a Syrian man has been convicted to 10 years in prison over causing corporal damage to his wife by setting her on fire, Estonian Supreme Court has rejected his appeal.

Olainfarm’s sales volume increased by 16% over the course of the year

Provisional consolidated data from Olainfarm for February 2018 shows that product sales volumes have reached EUR 10.69 million, which is 33% more when compared with the same period of 2017.

Minister: it is not impossible for banks to reduce number of risky clients to 5%

It is not impossible for Latvian banks to reduce the number of risky clients to 5%, says Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Syrian Afrin left by 220 000 civilians, Turkish-supported rebels loot town

After seizing the northern Syrian town of Afrin from Kurdish militia, Syrian rebels supported by Turkey have been looting properties, journalists have reported. The town has been left by estimated 220 000 civilians.

Ministry orders Riga City Council to lift restrictions on questions

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has asked Riga City Council to act and fix violations of democratic principles in the newly approved rules for deputies.

Observers of Russia election see lack of genuine choice, numerous irregularities

Official results of the Russian presidential election showed that Vladimir Putin received in a competition of eight candidates over 76% of votes and European observers have found the election has been conducted efficiently, but that there has been a lack of choice.

Olainfarm: tax law does not allow applying for tax discount in investment projects

Rushed changes to the Corporate Income Tax Law, approved as part of the expansive tax reform, do not allow businesses with prior permission from the government to apply for CIT discounts in investment projects to receive said discounts if their historic profits are not divided into dividends.

EU agrees to UK's transition period before Brexit

In a breakthrough in the Brexit talks, the UK gave its consent on Monday to an agreement with the European Union that a tangible border would not be established between British-ruled Northern Ireland and Ireland to have the bloc agree to retain most EU advantages for close to two years leaving the union.

Latvia experiences one of the most rapid export rises among EU member states in January

In January 2017, Latvia experienced one of the most rapid export increases among EU member states when compared to the same month of the previous year, according to data published by Eurostat on Monday, 19 March.

Russian citizens living in Latvia provided more support to Putin than citizens in Russia

During the presidential elections in Russia last week, support provided to President Vladimir Putin by Russian citizens living in Latvia turned out considerably larger than it was in Russia.

Every third illegally downloaded software programme – infected with a virus

Data compiled by International Data Corporation shows: every third illegally downloaded software programme is infected with malicious software. Nevertheless, 69% of consumers and 33% of businesses in Europe procure computers with software from unsafe sources.

Russian economy has grown stable along with oil prices

Higher prices of oil have allowed the Russian economy to recover despite European Union's and U.S. sanctions and in time to benefit the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has secured his next term in office.

Number of vacant jobs in Latvia grew 17.9% in 2017

In 2017, there were 17.0 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which was 2.6 thousand vacancies or 17.9 % more than in 2016. In public sector there were 6.1 thousand job vacancies van in private sector 10.9 thousand vacancies.

Latvian cosmetics producers exports goods worth approximately 20 million euros

Cosmetics producers in Latvia export products worth EUR 20 million every year. Volumes increase 5% every year. The main export partner states are located in Europe. Still, there has been a significant increase of export volumes to third countries – to some countries this increase was as large as 60% -70%, according to data from Latvian Cosmetic Manufacturers Association.

US Chamber of Commerce worried that Latvia’s political culture has not changed since Ridzene talks

American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (ACCL): «We are concerned that Latvian society’s and its government’s political culture has not changed much since the publication of information detailing events associated with Ridzene talks in 2009-2011. The state capture detailed there may still be possible...

Latvia’s prime minister open for talks regarding MPC system’s liquidation

Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis is prepared to discuss the possible liquidation of the mandatory procurement system, but not for all businesses at the same time.

Air temperature in Latvia to remain mostly positive throughout the week

On Monday, 19 March, weather in Latvia will change, as a low atmospheric pressure area together with an atmospheric front will approach the country from the north. The day will be sunny for the most part, but the amount of clouds will increase as hours go by, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Ukraine: British diplomats expelled from Moscow could work in Kyiv

In a reaction to Russia's announcement that it would expel 23 British diplomats from Moscow as part of the UK-Russia argument over poisoning of double-agent in an English city, Ukrainian Foreign Minister has suggested to his British counterpart that the 23 diplomats could now work in Ukraine.

UGF leader confirms: Lembergs will not be proposed for prime minister post

Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of serious crimes and is currently suspended from his post as chairman of Ventspils City Council, had proposed his candidacy for the post of prime minister of Latvia multiple times in the past. The moment has come at long last when Lembergs will not be an official candidate for the aforementioned post, as BNN was told by the leader of Union of Greens and Farmers’ Saeima faction Augusts Brigmanis.

NATO's defence spending benchmark met by three EU member states

Despite the current demanding security situation, in the NATO military alliance, no more than three member states of the European Union have reached the recommended defence spending sum in 2017 and Estonia is one of them.

In fight for northern Syria, Turkish-backed forces take city from Kurds

In the fight for northern Syria between forces led by Turkey and Kurdish fighters, Turkish-backed units had gained control of the heart of the Syrian-Kurdish city of Afrin.

Russian presidential election pronounced won by Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin been announced as the winner of the Sunday, March 18, presidential election, as the politician has pledged to devote his new term in office to strengthen Russia’s defences against the West and to improve the quality of life.

Week in Lithuania. Some 5,000 gather in protest rally outside Lithuania's Parliament

Some 5,000 people gathered outside the Lithuanian parliament in Vilnius on Thursday, March 15, to express discontent with the failed parliamentary vote to impeach MP Mindaugas Bastys and the performance of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

BNN summary of the week: oligarch talks’ ownership; scandals in Lithuania; Estonia wants direct democracy

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Progress; Scandals; Invitation; Fight; Opinion; Decline.