President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis has ordered the Cabinet of Ministers to coordinate actions with political parties, municipalities and social organizations and develop a clear action plan for the government in regards to the refugee matter in Latvia within the next two weeks.
«I ask the government to explain both possible costs, accommodation opportunities for refugees, their options for learning Latvian language and involvement in the labour market. I also expect to see Latvia’s national position approved by 21 September.
I invite all political parties to work together and be constructive in this process! We, residents of Latvia, have always been sympathetic toward weak and victimized people who ask for help in their time of need. We cannot afford to stay on the sidelines when people are in danger,» – said Vejonis.
According to him, «The strength of European member states lies in solidarity and joint decision-making. The current matter of refugees is not the first and certainly not the last challenge for Latvia. It is, however, the most serious joint matter we – a European member state – have to address.»
Also Vejonis notes he had met with representatives of all parties present in the Saeima in the last two days. He adds that he now has a clear image of the situation – each party is in favour of assisting war refugees.
«Unfortunately, it has to be admitted that in addition to parties’ desire to help in this matter there was also a serious lack of cooperation. Parties mostly try to improve their ratings and popularity by irresponsibly manipulating state matters. This often leads to them forgetting that our society is more than prepared to help,» – said Vejonis. According to him, the cause of uncertainty and concerns lies in politicians’ decision to pick the easy way out by refusing to get involved in solving the problem and ignoring the opinion of the population, creating uncertainty and misleading people in the process.
«Of course Europe’s policy and actions require improvements, and Latvia has to find a way to contribute as well. The new situation establishes new requirements in many areas – strengthening Europe’s southern borders, improvements to EU’s internal security and information exchange, cooperation of security institutions and handling regions in crisis. The European Union should have a long-term political goal to stabilize neighbouring regions and make certain some of the refugees can return to their home countries.
Nevertheless, the question what should be done with people who have ended up in Europe fleeing their war-torn countries requires immediate action. Latvia and its politicians cannot avoid making decisions for long,» – emphasized Vejonis.