Finance Minister Andris Vilks, met with representatives of social partners. During the meeting, they agreed on the maximum protection of Latvia’s interests in cohesion policy, so that Latvia would receive payments from EU funds at nearly the same amounts in 2013 as it does now.
«Latvia’s quality of life has become significantly closer to that of the average EU level. And it was done in many ways thanks to the investments from the Cohesion policy, which is an important source of money for Latvia’s economic development. Many industries are being funded from the EU funds, starting with road, water supply and heating services and, finally, with schools and export companies. We must do everything in our power to ensure a positive result for Latvia,»- says Finance Minister.
Vilks and representatives of different Latvia financial institutions and organizations agreed that it is important to reach a full understanding that a 2.5% for GDP cohesion policy ceiling, introduced by the EC, is unjust in relation to Latvia and is significantly smaller than 3.7% of GDP, now active in Latvia.
To make sure Latvia’s voice is heard, the sides agreed to actively demonstrate the added value of the cohesion policy in Latvia’s development, as well as openly state Latvia’s preparedness to invest money in the future. It was also decided to present specific project examples of good investment opportunities in Latvia, and how the country uses the EU money “to buy a fishing rod, rather than fish, the ministry reports.
«We suffered a 20% cumulated GDP decline in the period of 2008-2010. As a result, Latvia is offered a smaller cohesion policy envelope. It seems that Latvia is being punished for its fiscal discipline, which meant a steeper GDP decline during crisis years, but offered a more stable footing for economic growth in the future. This situation is unacceptable. Even though progress is reached in negotiations about the cohesion policy’s envelope, the involvement of the citizen society and social partners in this question is important for the full resolution of this issue,»- Vilks said in conclusion of the meeting.
Latest data shows that Latvia is capable of successfully realizing the projects that are funded by the cohesion policy. Thereby, Latvia will set itself on the fourth pace among twelve new member states that received payments from the EC. It will be a good argument in the discussion with the EC about the allocation of funding after 2013, the ministry points.