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Friday 28.07.2017 | Name days: Cecīlija, Cilda
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BNN summary of the week: less pay for overtime and citizenship for all in Estonia

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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, including change, business, decline, truth, growth and future.

Change: Estonian prime minister suggests giving citizenship to long-term residents

Non-citizens who have been living in Estonia for more than 25 years should be given citizenship, said Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. ‘«It is my party’s programme. There are 80,000 people with grey passports in Estonia. It is not normal for so many people to be living in Estonia without citizenship. It is a problem for our society,» he said.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/estonian-prime-minister-suggests-giving-citizenship-to-long-term-residents-160649

Deal: Latvian Saeima ratifies EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

On Thursday, 23 February, Latvia’s parliament ratified the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. «The agreement means geopolitical benefits under conditions of security risks and a major step towards strengthening Trans-Atlantic ties,» said Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee’s Chairman Ojars Eriks Kalnins.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/latvian-saeima-ratifies-eu-canada-comprehensive-economic-and-trade-agreement-160864

Decline: low wages cause deficit of doctors in many places

Because of low wages, tension and concern are felt in many fields of medicine, said Healthcare Minister Anda Caksa in an interview to Rīta panorama programme of LTV. She said healthcare is often called a priority, but without allocating appropriate funding to this priority doctors feel unappreciated. «We need real wages – not just on paper, but in reality as well,» Caksa noted.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/caksa-low-wages-cause-deficit-of-doctors-in-many-places-160682

Truth: officials say there was no reason to end the «oligarchs case»

Former officials of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau believe the prosecutor’s office and KNAB had no reasons to end the so-called oligarchs case. Nevertheless, they are not surprised about this outcome.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/ex-knab-officials-there-was-no-reason-to-end-the-oligarchs-case-160964

Growth: Latvia will be a leader among Baltics in GDP growth this year and the next

Latvia’s economic trends will be dictated by positive trends in the next several years. Consumption will continue growing, export volumes will continue increasing and EU funds will continue improving investments and stimulating the construction sector. Actual wages will grow and unemployment indexes will decline slightly.

«Latvia will be a leader among Baltic States in GDP growth this year and the next. The country’s GDP growth will be 3.5% in 2017 and 2018. Estonia’s economy will grow 2.2% this year and 3.1% next year. Lithuania’s GDP will grow 2.5% this year and 3.1% next year,» Gaspuitis said.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/gaspuitis-latvia-will-be-a-leader-among-baltics-in-gdp-growth-this-year-and-the-next-160860

Future: Welfare Ministry proposes reducing overtime pay

Latvian Welfare Ministry proposes reducing overtime pay for the first time two hours by half, says WM representative Egils Zarins. He notes that from now on employees who work overtime will be paid no less than 50% of their normal pay for the first two hours. For every next hour, overtime pay has to be no lower than 100% or the normal pay.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/welfare-ministry-proposes-reducing-overtime-pay-160936

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Eurozone’s economic confidence index experiences unexpected surge up

Eurozone’s economic confidence index unexpectedly surged to 111.2 points this July, according to data from the European Commission.

Saeima approves next year’s tax reform – what will change?

The Saeima has approved a total of 12 laws associated with the reform after reviewing more than 300 proposals. Review of proposals that had nothing to do with the reform has been put off until the budget approval period, when they will be discussed in more detail.

Bookmakers: the new party has good chances of entering the Saeima

The new liberal party «Par!», whose leaders include former Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts and Saeima deputy Ilze Vinkele will likely pass the 5% barrier in the next Saeima elections, according to Betsafe bookmakers.

Latvia’s retail trade turnover increased 3.1% in June

Compared to June 2016, total retail trade turnover rose by 3.1 % in June 2017. Turnover of retail trade for food products increased by 1.0 % and turnover of non-food products grew by 4.7 %.

Association: alcohol market will decline and people will lose jobs in the industry

The planned introduction of increased excise tax rates within the context of Finance Ministry’s tax reform could cause the alcohol market in Latvia to decline by approximately 7% next year, says CEO of Latvian Alcohol Industry Association Davis Vitols.

Survey: Latvian residents prefer to perform home repairs on their own

According to results of a recent survey, 63% of Latvian respondents have spent this year’s summer season performing home repairs. 59% of respondents always pick summer to perform repairs.

Martins Bondars confident he should «step aside»

Martins Bondars has decided to step down as chairman of Latvian Association of Regions. According him, recent decisions made by members of LAR have not been ones he would personally support.

Unity: electing Sudraba to the committee causes trust in politicians to go down more

Inguna Sudraba’s approval for the oligarch talks parliamentary investigative committee’s board would the equivalent of the parliament deciding not to permit searches in Slesers’ home, Unity members say.

Kalnmeiers still has no time; ‘Send a letter to prosecutor general!’ campaign begins

«Progresīvie» political party has launched a special campaign called «Send a letter to prosecutor general!», in which the party asks Latvian prosecutor general Eriks Kalnmeiers to step down.

End of July and beginning of August promise warm but rainy weather

The last days of July will be largely sunny. Some rain will be present here and there, however. Air temperature will remain within a range of +20° C… +25° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Juncker to held stop food discrimination of EU's eastern members

Reacting to criticism from Slovakia, Bulgaria and other European Union member states on differences in food product quality in Eastern Europe, the head of the EU's executive body, Jean-Claude Juncker, has pledged to help end the «totally unacceptable» practice.

Property purchase and rent trends are similar among Baltic States

Currently the proportion of standard apartments in Riga in comparison with new projects is rather significant – while the number of standard apartments in the capital is 3,200, new projects are limited to only 300 buildings, according to information compiled DNB Bank and Ober-Haus on apartment demand in Latvia and Baltics.

Construction costs in Latvia up 0.2%

Compared to May, the level of construction costs in Latvia increased by 0.2 % in June 2017.

Beer brewers: many will lose jobs because of increased excise tax on beer

If the Saeima supports the initiative on increasing excise tax on beer by 50% this Thursday, 27 July, the number of people employed in the beer industry will decrease 30%, which will especially impact residents of Latvia’s regions, according to Latvian Breweries Union.

Helsinki-Riga route to be tested by Tallink

Estonian ferry and cruise company Tallink is testing this week the interest of passengers to take a cruise trip from Helsinki to Riga.

Where is the piece of land Duklavs’ associates wanted 15 million for?

Ir magazine has surveyed several hectares of land on Daugava River’s left bank, specifically within the territory of Riga Freeport, to find the piece of land that was mentioned by Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs during his conversation with other politicians in Ridzene hotel.

Opinion: candidates of the last presidency have all been intellectually weak

One of this summer’s hottest and most discussed piece of news was the proposal to allow residents to elect the country’s president. Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis’ 22 June speech to the parliament, in which he proposed allowing the people to elect the president in 2019, caused even more discussions.

Flat rental fraud increases in Estonia

Police in Estonia have observed a increase in fraud complaints in the area of rental flats as fraudsters typically ask for prepayments and deposits for listed flats they do not own.

Latvian troops to participate in Northern Strike exercises in USA

Throughout 27 July – 14 August, more than 70 troops of Latvian Armed Forces will be taking part in Northern Strike 2017 joint land and air exercises organized by Michigan National Guard in USA.

Delna: if the prime minister chooses to stifle emotions, the president should step up

On Wednesday, 26 July, Delna received a response letter from Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis to Delna’s previous letter, in which the organization requested the dismissal of Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs.

Saeima supports tax reform laws in final reading

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has concluded work on tax reform laws, supporting them in the final reading. Part of the proposals on additional benefits and multiple other matters will be put off for a later date.

Latvian Shipping Company sells its office building on Elizabetes Street 1

On Tuesday, 25 July, Latvian Shipping Company signed an agreement on the sale of its current office building. The buyer and the next owner of the house will be the United Arab Emirates, who purchased the six-story building on Elizabetes Street 1 in Riga for the needs of the embassy, as confirmed by the company.

Farmers Saeima: beef industry in Latvia is not sufficiently developed

Farmers Saeima believes Latvia’s beef industry is not sufficiently developed, and existing farms have not sufficiently stabilized – many farms have major debt. Because of that any kind of support for the industry is welcome.

Puce: Latvia should ratify Istanbul Convention without reservations

For Latvia’s Development political party has turned to Welfare Ministry with a request to ratify Istanbul Convention without any corrections as soon as possible, BNN was informed by the party’s representatives.

More than half of Latvian businessmen work on weekend; study shows

Businessmen normally spend eight hours and five minutes on work every day. More than 58% of Latvian businessmen also work on weekends, according to data from the latest Citadele Index study.