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Friday 22.09.2017 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris

Millionaire Berzins proposes changing social benefits for ex-presidents

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Andris Berzins

President of Latvia Andris Berzins, who is not the one to complain about the lack of money, has submitted a letter to the Saeima Presidium with a request to amend the Law on Securing State President’s Functionality. The amendments contained in the letter suggest changing the amount of social guaranties for ex-presidents.

At the same time, the submitted draft law provides for a transitional period to make sure the changes do not affect the individuals who once filled the role of President of Latvia. These individuals will retain the apartments and cars, but they will have no rights to expect the pension increase provided by the draft law. Meanwhile, the purchase of a new car would have a new legal regulation, but the current President would be subject to neither the rights for a state provided apartment, nor a pension increase, press service of the State President’s chancellery reports.

It is estimated that the amendments in the draft law will reduce expenses of the state budget, because the draft law does not allow the purchase or rent of first-class cars.

Berzins’ submitted draft law offers refusing to use the guarantee which states that a person taking the post of President of Latvia will be offered an apartment. At the same time, the compensation mechanism will offer a monthly pension increase and the opportunity to use the State President’s residence’s representation room.

The draft law explains that there was no need for the guarantee of a state apartment in 1995, when this practice was adopted. It is said that mostly because of the state of the housing fund, rent market and social-economic conditions after the fall of the Soviet order. Now, however, times have changed. Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic do not provide their ex-presidents apartments. Finland’s legislation provides for an apartment, offering housing at attractive prices, but this guarantee is not used in practice.

Currently, ex-presidents receive a monthly salary equal to 50% of the President’s monthly salary – 1500 LVL before taxes. The draft law proposes increasing the pension amount to 85% – to 2 550 LVL before taxes.

The second proposal in relation to social guarantees regards the purchase of the car, because current normative regulations do not provide the criteria. It is mentioned in the argumentation section of the letter: ’Duties performed by the person on the post of President of State are usually not related to functions that could require first-class vehicles, something required by the three highest ranking officials of the country.’

In order to offer a reasonable solution and keep in mind the analysis of the car market, as mentioned in the submitted draft law, it would be wise to link the value of the car to the ex-president’s needs and status. Therefore, the draft law provides a limit for the ex-president (12 500 LVL purchase value and 380 LVL rent value).

In Germany, for example, costs of a provided vehicle for an ex-president usually make up 300 to 500 EUR per month, not including maintenance costs.

It should added that the remuneration of a first person or an ex-president’s social guarantees do not look incredibly high when compared to the practice of neighbouring countries.

Berzins’ income is not affected by monthly donations to Latvian schools. His last year’s income made up 360 758 LVL, savings – 1.76 million LVL, according to the public information at the State Revenue Service.

His last year’s salary paid by the State President’s chancellery was 15 266 LVL, his Saeima MP’s salary was 9 572 LVL, his pension paid by the State Social Insurance Agency was 54 995 LVL. He also received 18 502 LVL from SEB Bank in interest.


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