bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 24.11.2017 | Name days: Velta, Velda
EstoniaEstonia

Five prime ministers – fivefold optimism

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+2 rating, 2 votes)

bnn-news.com, bnn.lv, bnn-news.ru, Baltic news

From left: Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius and their Finnish counterpart Jyrki Katainen

Today, September 16, the capital of Latvia held the annual Riga Conference 2011, the largest security and foreign policy forum in Northern Europe. Prime Ministers of Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland opened the conference. They all spoke about their homelands’ achievements in overcoming the crisis, at the same time singling out Dombrovskis’ performance in tackling the economic downfall that successfully.

For the delight of NATO. An elite fight club

Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister of Latvia, pointed out that the key issue of today is to achieve more with less means available. He went on to give a brief account of the severe situation in 2009 – the recession. Back then, tax collection fell 30%, while fiscal consolidation – 13 to 16% of GDP. “We had to cut all costs, including in health care, education and public administration. As the saying goes – reforms start when money ends. It is exactly what happened with us,” he said.

According to Dombrovskis, the crisis served as a catalyst to start reforms. He could not help but mention that reforms launched in the national armed forces were highly approved by NATO, which even decided to borrow some of them.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk began his speech with a grim picture of the eurozone debt crisis. According to him, the clouds are thickening and no one knows what will happen next. “We must be courageous. Latvia showed all of us what courage truly means.” Tusk was glad he was the prime minister of a country struck by the crisis quite minimally. In this regard, he called the Baltic countries an elite club of fighters against the recession, “Just look at their GDPs now! This is a result of joint action and close cooperation,” he added.

Having heard out such good words about Latvia, moderator of the conference John Peet, editor of The Economist, suggested reading Dombrovskis’ book published just recently. According to him, it offers a wonderful recipe of how to lead a country out of an economic crisis.

Holy faith in tax collection and security

Andrus Ansip, Estonian Prime Minister, boasted about his country having been well prepared for the crisis. However, neither did Estonia escape consolidation, tax increase and reforms – a familiar story. But it is doing well today – the unemployment rate is shrinking faster than in other countries, while both the budget deficit and the sovereign debt are among the smallest ones in the European Union. Ansip shared his own recipe of overcoming the crisis, “I do not trust in all these euro bonds. I believe in structural reforms and efficient tax collection.”

He also highlighted a paradox witnessed by Latvia, “Carrying out reforms right before the elections is political suicide. Such a government would unlikely come to power again. But that is exactly what happened in Latvia when Dombrovskis was re-elected.” Isn’t that a miracle or what?

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said at once he would do without speakign of his country’s achievements. He was more interested in the security issues of the Baltic countries. He went on to name three major instruments to ensure it. The first – financial stability. “If you want to know what to do during an economic growth period – ask Ansip, but if you are interested more in how to tackle a crisis – ask Dombrovskis. According to him, good infrastructure is the second most crucial thing, because the Baltics should not be isolated from the rest of the EU. In terms of the third aspect, Kubilius believes that NATO should pay special attention to these countries that are so close to Russia.

“Collaboration” was the key word of Finnish Prime Minister Finland Jyrki Kataynena’s speech. According to him, countries should be friends with one another also because the U.S. is much interested in Europeans paying greater attention to their security issues. Kataynena did not hesitate to flatter the Baltics a little. He forecasts the region will soon become the most dynamic in the whole Europe.

BNN assumes that the audience of this online conference, watching it from their homelands along the Baltic Sea, might be feeling less optimistic than these five top officials. And at least one of all people in front of their computer screens – an ordinary man – could not help but wonder at the fact that this evening turned into an excellent pre-election politic advertising for the Prime Minister Dombrovskis. Right in the eve of the 11th Saeima elections.


Leave a reply

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...

Bosnian Serb commander punished with life imprisonment for Srebrenica

The UN the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia handed a life imprisonment sentence to Ratko Mladić after it found the former commander of Bosnian Serb forces guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the 1990s during the Bosnian War.

EC positive about Latvia’s 2018 budget project

Based on the conclusion from the European Commission, Latvia’s budget project for 2018 fully fits conditions listed in the Stability and Growth Pact. In accordance with EC’s estimates, the structural balance of Latvia’s general budget is viewed at -1.8% of GDP. Government budget expenditures, on the other hand, are expected to grow by 7.1 percentage points.

Producer price level in Latvia declined 0.2% in October

Compared to September, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry dropped by 0.2 % in October 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market decreased by 0.5 %, while prices of exported products went up by 0.1 %.

Vaškevičs feels «harsh but fair» attitude from court justice system in Austria

Former deputy director of Latvia’s State Revenue Service Vladimirs Vaškevičs, who is accused of bribery and whose extradition from Austria has been a priority for Latvian authorities for some time now, says he feels «harsh but, thank God, fair» attitude from the Austrian court justice system.

Antāne: lost Russian cargoes have cost Latvia nearly 50 million in nine months

Latvia’s economy has lost nearly EUR 50 million in nine months because of missed Russian transit cargoes. While Russian Railway had approved 90% of oil and coal cargoes for transit through Ventspils port at the beginning of the year, this amount had declined to a mere 5% by September, says Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antāne.

In pictures: Museum of painter, Holocaust survivor Bak opened in Vilnius

In Vilnius, a museum to Jewish-Polish painter Samuel Bak has been opened. During the occupation of Lithuania by the Nazi Germany, the artist survived the Holocaust in the country.

Ratio of old people and invalids on a rise among unemployed people

The total number of unemployed people has been decreasing in recent years. However, the ratio of old people and invalids continues increasing in the ranks of unemployed people. On top of that, the number of lasting unemployed people remains high and largely unchanged in the country.

Saaremaa looking into possible ferry traffic to Latvia

The local government of the largest Estonian island is looking into possible interest of five shipping companies in opening ferry traffic between Saaremaa and Latvia.

Balta: exhaustion and overload are the most common causes for accidents at work

More than EUR 20,000 has been paid in compensations for injuries acquired at work this year so far, according to information from insurance association Balta. Compared with the same period of last year, the number of accidents has grown 40%.

Estonian town tempts population to reregister with spa in Latvia and 100 euro payment

The town of Keila, located 25 kilometres away from Tallinn, has started a one-and-a-half month campaign to motivate its residents to register back in the town as many of them have registered in the Estonian capital, which grants free public transport to its population.