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Economist: there will be less EU fund money for Latvia after 2020

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Thursday, 1 December, the European Parliament will vote for the EU 2017 budget agreed upon by the parliament and the EU Council early in the morning in 17 November.

The agreement in regards to the budget provides for an increase in funding for Latvia, said Inese Vaidered at ‘What can we expect from EU budget in the future?’ discussion on the effect of the EU budget on Latvia’s future. «I expect no surprises. The EP made sure no changes were added to the budget formation process at the expense of current policies, including cohesion and agriculture policy, which are especially important for Latvia, as Baltic States have suffered the most from EU sanctions against Russia,» – Vaidere said.

In the talks regarding the EU 2017 budget, the most support was provided to unemployed youth and Erasmus+ programme, small and medium-sized businesses, transport infrastructure and research, solutions for the refugee crisis and improvements for agriculture, as reported by EP Information Office in Latvia.

Edgars Sadris, director of Finance Ministry’s EU Fund Strategy Department, emphasized that Latvia is among member states that have learned to turn EU finances into growth and results the most effectively. One of the reasons for that is the close relation of official policy with reform processes. The biggest challenge right now is not stopping and continuing onward.

Commenting on results of EU’s previous efforts to reduce unemployment, Ilze Zvidrina, deputy director of Welfare Ministry’s Labour Market Policy Department, noted that Youth Guarantee programme had been a catalyst for improvements in Europe’s Labour Market. She added that Latvia’s youth unemployment indexes are not as bad as those found in Greece, Portugal and elsewhere in Europe.

The general budget frame is set by the EU multi-year budget, currently for 2014-2020. A separate budget with more room to manoeuvrer is accepted every year. In relation to the upcoming EU long-term budget’s (2014-2020) review, Vaidere emphasized that neither the outcome of Brexit nor the migration crisis had been in consideration during the preparation of the budget plan. This is why the European Parliament has asked the European Commission to make the medium-term budget more flexible.

Martins Zemitis, economic advisor to European Commission’s representation, said that the European Commission will have offered proposals for the long-term budget by the end of 2017. The budget has been formed to improve EU institutional and strategic planning. It is clear that more focus will be put on the use of financial support tools – emphasis to be put on effective use of finances, he said. In any case – it is not about EU institutions that approve the budget, it is about people as specific projects provided with money, added Zemitis.

He explained that the European Commission already thinks about the next planning period and review of the EU multi-year budget term – it is currently five years, but officials are considering making it four, seven or any other period. He added that the EU budget volume is considered small – approximately one billion euros, which is equal to around 1% of total EU member states’ GNI. Ginta Jakobsone, representative of Agricultural Organization Cooperation Council, said the review of the EU multi-year budget does not raise concerns.

Senior economist of the Monetary Policy Office of the Bank of Latvia Baiba Traidase said, according to the bank’s estimates, Latvia has received funding from the EU worth EUR 7.7 billion (2.6% of Latvia’s GDP) from 2000 (four years before joining the EU). She added that it is clear that there will be less money for Latvia after 2020.

Commenting on Brexit influence on the EU budget, the expert said the EU budget will decrease by 10% as a result of lost payments from the UK.

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