Latviski English По-русски
Friday 24.11.2017 | Name days: Velta, Velda

Green energy millionaires fear reforms

(No Ratings Yet)

Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts

It emerges that certain forces could be plotting to call on Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts to step down. This is because the reforms he has in mind scare green energy businessmen.

The timing coincides with speculations that Reform Party (RP) could name Pavluts for the post of Riga Mayor, reports whistle-blower Pietiek.

There are quite apparent links between those allegedly willing to demand Pavluts’ resignation and those behind the “black PR” campaig against him. It appears that the parade is orchestrated by millionaires, who make huge money from green energy subsidies. Obviously, they do not want things to change.

Economy Minister as well as RP Deputy Chairs Sandra Sondore-Kukule and Edgars Rinkevics deny that the idea to nominate Pavluts as Riga Mayor is a way to retreat. They explain that also other RP ministers have come under fire due to the reforms the have intended. Threats to call for resignation have also been directed towards Roberts Kilis (Education Minister) and Edmunds Sprudzs (Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister).

“I hear rumour, but I do not see any legitimate threats. Apart from what may be discussed in Old Riga cafes, currently no one questions the performance of Economy Minister. Neither officially, nor unofficially. Those who want to legitimately raise the question of resignation will have to present exact reasons why they are not satisfied,” says Sondore-Kukule.

She implies that those willing to call on Pavluts to step down might include businesses that fear his reforms.

Back on August 28, the government meeting was attended by the independent MP Klavs Olsteins, who spoke of arguments against cutting support to cogeneration businesses.

He represented the group of six independent MPs, who have been trying to put off the new regulations. Olsteins was previously thought to be willing to avoid such obvious demonstration of green energy lobby. But it turns out he is not, reports Pietiek.

Olsteins did not, however, answer clearly whether or not he would support resignation calls. But another group-of-six MP Gunars Rusins reveals that they have not agreed on a common standpoint.

“We have discussed this and come to a conclusion that Pavluts is quite a powerful minister. He does not seem to have any selfish interest in reforms that he is carrying out to arrange the system,” he says.

“If someone indeed called for my resignation, I would, of course, see it as a political failure. It would mean that we were not wise enough to complete the reforms. But I will not drop the idea just to do away with any threat of resignation calls. That is not the price I am willing to pay,” says Pavluts.

In August 28 government meeting, Pavluts agreed to extend the transition to the new restrictions (from 2013 to 2016). He calls it a “reasonable compromise”, so that this part of the reforms is not abandoned.

The reason why the State Chancellery lawyers objected to a fast shift to the new restrictions is that foreign investors could sue Latvia in the International Court of Arbitration.

Pavluts refuses to guess what political tasks could be hidden behind the need to find legal grounds for vetoing the reforms.

He also dismisses rumour that he was once offered a million lats ($ 1.85m) to drop the idea of green energy reforms. However, knowing the super-wealthy companies (wind farms, cogeneration plants and biofuels businesses) feeding from state subsidies, the amount of the bribe seems quite realistic.

There is one more fact that sheds light on the interests of those trying to shake Pavluts’ positions. The black PR targeted against him involves the same PR specialists, who have provided services to businessmen interested in changing the political course of the Economy Ministry.

According to Pietiek, the black PR campaign has been allocated unlimited funds. PR company Baltijas komunikaciju centrs (BKC) serves as a channel through which the media are sent numerous speculations about Pavluts working to please his former employer Swedbank.

BKC clients include millionaires associated with the association For Latvia’s Development, founded by Einars Repse. Many of them fear the reforms, because they would deprive green energy businesses of huge funds.

Logging company Pata AB, owned by Uldis Mierklans, would also suffer. Back when Artis Kampars served as Economy Minister, it won many public orders and took up green energy business by becoming a supplier of wood chips.

It should be added that Olsteins has worked for Mierkalns as a lawyer (back then he was already working at the Economy Ministry). In the firm, he was responsible for overseeing establishment of offshore companies.

Under Kampars, businessmen close to the ruling party Unity were generously allocated mandatory state procurement quotas. But the reforms intend to abandon the practice, thus also hitting wind power businessman Olafs Berkis.

Berkis’ team in the so-called Ventspils war over AS Ventbunkers is also represented by BKC.

The PR company has also provided services to another member of Repses’ association – Donats Vaitaitis, owner of bioethanol producer Jaunpagasts.

Vaitaitis is believed to lose the most if Pavluts does not change his policy and drops direct subsidization of green power producers.

According to Pietiek, BKC owner Gints Feders denies that his company is in charge of the black PR campaign against Pavluts. Neither does he confirm that certain angry millionaires are paying to discredit the minister.

“We do not disclose our clients. But I can say that none of our existing customers has hired us for such a purpose. Neither Mierkalns, nor Berkis and Vaitaitis have ever been our clients,” he says.

He reveals, though, that they did collaborate with Mierklans’ company Pata AB about a year ago.

“The company represented Vaitaitis’ interests some time ago. But speaking about Berkis, BKC PR specialist Marcis Krastins once informed Pietiek and other media outlets about Berkis’ view on the fight for AS Ventbunkers. In the winter of 2011, he also organized Berkis’ interviews for different news agencies,” sources close to BKC tell Pietiek.

Feders argues that perhaps his employee did this on his own.


Leave a reply

Latvian parties took part in sports games organized by scandalous Russian politician

On Lāčplēsis Day, 11 November, certain members of the Saeima from Harmony party and Union of Greens and Farmers participated in sports games organized by Jaunā līga association supported by the Russian parliament. The initiator of those games is Dmitry Svistsev, a member of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party led by scandalous Russian State Duma politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Latvijas Avīze writes.

Famous Lithuanian film director suffers backlash amid sexual misconduct accusations

Although the list of powerful Lithuanian men accused of sexual misconduct is nowhere to match the similar compilation in the United States, where many women have busted an army of entertainment industry big-names, politicians and other public life celebs, however, the wave of woman revelations of men’s unwanted sexual advancement has reached Lithuania, too.

LEC: it is important to ensure efficient investing of state budget finances

It is important that the state budget for 2018 helps reach goals detailed in the National Development Plan, not look for excuses why something was not achieved, says Latvian Employers’ Confederation.

Latvian barometer: Zemgale’s residents are the proudest of living in Latvia

With Latvia’s centenary coming up, Baltic International Bank organized Latvian barometer to determine Latvian residents’ opinions on festivities associated with this event, as well as Latvia’s accomplishments and factors the country should improve.

Ašeradens: the state budget should contribute to changes in national economy

The state budget should contribute to changes in Latvia’s national economy. This is why it is necessary to ensure that Economy Ministry recognizes efforts to increase productivity of the national economy, export growth, attraction of investments, innovations and business environment development as priorities in the process for the formation of the next three-year state budget, says Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Belgian waffle factory fire closes schools in Brussels

A large fire has destroyed a waffle factory in Brussels, making a cloud of black smoke over a part of the European Union's unofficial capital.

Facebook to inform users, who liked secretly Russian-made political pages

The popular social network has undertaken in the U.S. to notify its users if they have given a thumb-up to Facebook pages, which around the time of the last U.S. presidential election have been set up by foreign actors with the aim of spreading propaganda.

Officials: a safe Europe is important for Latvia

Latvia is interested in a safe and strong Europe. Security is one of the most important priorities. Looking at modern-day challenges and technological development, cyber-security’s role only keeps increasing, said chairperson of Saeima’s European Affairs Committee Lolita Čigāne after a meeting.

Weather to remain volatile in Latvia; air temperature to drop again next week

No major changes are expected for weather in Latvia in the coming days. Friday, 24 November, will be cloudy and rainy. Air temperature will range within +2° C… +7° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Pūce: RS is fortunate that «good uncle» Ušakovs gives as much money as needed

«Rīgas satiksme is a jar with an empty bottom in which Riga’s taxpayer money is put in from one end and the money put in it falls out of the other end and is used in different fraud schemes like nano-water, and the useless hydrogen-powered transport project – enormous and financially unreasonable projects....

Saeima approves next year’s budget; more funding for health and defence

On Thursday, 23 November, the Saeima approved Latvia’s budget for 2018. Next year’s budget revenue is planned at EUR 8.75 billion, whereas expenditures are planned at EUR 8.95 billion. The largest increase of funding is planned for healthcare. Latvia’s defence budget is set to reach 2% of GDP

Ķuzis: 94% of sex crimes against children are committed by people they know

Approximately half of sex crimes committed against minors take place on the internet, said Chief of State Police Ints Ķuzis at a press-conference on protection of children against sexual violence.

European Parliament approves use of EU Solidarity Fund’s advance payments

European Parliament’s Budget Committee has approved MEP Inese Vaidere’s submitted report on the use of advance payments from the EU Solidarity Fund in 2018, as reported by European People’s Party group Latvian press and communication advisor Ģirts Salmgriezis.

Authorities unmask illegal trade of products made from protected animals

Nature Protection Office and State Police have stepped up their efforts to increase control over trade of products made from endangered and protected species in the past month. Authorities have already confiscated different goods made from animals protected in Latvia and the world.

Swedbank survey: youngsters want stability; belief in Latvian labour market grows

Stability and income predictability are two of the most important values for Latvian youngsters when planning their future jobs. According to a survey performed by Swedbank, 53% of youngsters would gladly start working in an existing company.

Myanmar and Bangladesh to sigh refugee return agreement

In South-Eastern Asia, Myanmar plans to sign an agreement with neighbouring Bangladesh on the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who have fled to the latter, while rights organisations point to atrocities committed by Myanmar's military.

Polish shipbuilder accused of bribing Port of Tallinn management

A senior executive of Remontowa Shipbuilding, a Polish shipbuilding company, is facing accusations of handing large bribes to former senior figures Port of Tallinn, the Estonian state-owned port operator.

Lībiņa-Egnere may be appointed head of Saeima’s National Security Committee

Unity member Inese Lībiņa-Egnere may be appointed as the new head of Saeima’s National Security Committee, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Expert: real estate transaction volume this year may reach 100 million euros

The volume of commercial real estate transactions in Baltic States may exceed EUR 1 billion. Latvia, meanwhile, remains behind its neighbouring countries because the volume of transactions in the country may reach EUR 100 million, says CEO of Colliers International Deniss Kairāns.

Finnish medication prescriptions to be valid in Estonia

In Estonia, Finland's digital prescriptions of medications will be valid from summer 2018 and vice versa – from around mid-2019.

Talks commence on restoring ferry traffic between Ventspils and Saaremaa

On Wednesday, 22 November, a delegation from Saaremaa municipality arrived at Vetnspils Freeport to discuss with representatives of Ventspils municipality and freeport the proposal to restore ferry traffic between Saaremaa and Ventspils.

Family of killed Maltese journalist take police to court

The family of the killed Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has sued police believing that it does not perform an impartial investigation.

Saeima reduces VAT for vegetables, berries and fruits typical for Latvia

Starting 2018, a reduced VAT rate will be applied for fresh fruits, berries and vegetables in Latvia. This is provided by amendments approved by the Saeima on 22 November for Law on Value Added Tax.

Georgian anti-terrorist raid ends tragically

In the Georgian capital Tbilisi, security officers have conducted an anti-terrorist raid in an apartment, where a shoot-out has started and three suspected militants and a special forces' soldier have been killed.

Jerošenko: Ušakovs offers unhealthy policy, Harmony is used as Lembergs’ «satellite party»

«Cooperation between Harmony and Aivars Lembergs’ Union of Greens and Farmers has always existed. It existed even before Harmony first appeared in Riga City Council. The situation is the same in the Saeima, even though Concord is in the opposition. Still, in situations when one or the other matter important to Lembergs appears, one does not have to be a great politologist to notice the ties between those parties...

Newest comments