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Raimonds Vejonis replaces Andris Berzins as President of Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAs part of passing the authority to the next President, Raimonds Vejonis gave a solemn oath in the Saeima at 09:00 on 8 July.

After the oath-giving ceremony, it is planned that Vejonis will participate in an award-giving ceremony. At 10:00, Vejonis will participate in a flower-laying ceremony at the Freedom Monument. He will also lay flowers at the Brothers Cemetery.

The symbolic passing of the torch will be held in the House of Blackheads at 12:00. The inauguration ceremony will take place at 15:00.

As it is known, Raimonds Vejonis was elected President of Latvia on 3 June. He was elected in the fifth vote. 55 Saeima deputies voted in his favour. It should be added that he was the last remaining candidate at that point. 42 Saeima deputies voted against him and one deputy abstained from the vote. Vejonis is the fifth President of Latvia after the restoration of the country’s independence and the ninth after the foundation of the state of Latvia.

In his speech, Vejonis said: «There are professions in which good professionals can be easily differentiated from bad ones. There are clear and commonly-known criteria. Money is the main criterion in business; discoveries are the main criterion in science and sports focus on results. I believe we, the people present here, have thought about criteria for success in politics at some point in our careers. How do we measure our work results? I think I have found an answer for myself. What I mean is the extent to which we contribute to our country’s development. […] All of us should understand that Latvia’s success depends on the success of every person living here. Success depends on our attitude. Our attitude is measured in pride for our country and its people. We often forget about the wonderful, clever and selfless people that surround us. This also applies to each person’s accomplishments for the greater good of our country, a reason to feel proud for each and every patriot of Latvia. I do not mean world-class art, science and sports with that. What I mean is the attention to the people who selflessly do their jobs day after day, helping others; doctors who save lives; teachers who train young professionals and businessmen who create jobs. They have earned our praise through the work they do. These people form the foundation for Latvia and its future.

This is the perspective I see for myself in the post of President of Latvia. I want to encourage all of you to think about Latvia’s image one hundred years from now; what can we do to make sure our grandchildren can live, work and create families in Latvia. It is exactly what we have lost in countless fights among political parties and groups of interest – the ability to notice the most important aspects of our lives. Important things take time to form in the wild: you cannot hope to grow a tree from an acorn immediately. It is important to at least have an acorn in order for there to be conditions for development. In politics, we need to be able to make decisions in a long-term perspective. These decisions and reforms are the fruits that will be enjoyed by our descendants. Work on such a far-sighted policy will require strict political neutrality from the President. The President has to be able to balance different interests in the name of the greater good and state development. This is why the President will welcome anyone prepared for constructive work. The State President is not window dressing. The President has to be able act as a practical helper to anyone and everyone who wants to work for the good of the country in internal politics and external politics. We have to be able to communicate as human beings; stick to a constructive and unifying dialogue instead of exaggerating different disputes,» – said Vejonis.

He emphasized: «Unfortunately, people often talk about a divided society in Latvia. This topic is also often actualized by unfriendly countries. Exaggeration and actualization of division is neither smart nor patriotic. Look around – there are plenty of things that unite us all.

There is no doubt – we need to work on strengthening the foundations of our country to make them comprehensive to all residents of Latvia. We need to work on introducing a unified look at Latvia’s history. However, there are no different Latvian and non-Latvian way to work the land or sow seeds. Disputes should be addressed in a practical, far-sighted work, not through scandals and fights. Other fields of expertise often provide good examples for politicians. This is why Latvia has all the right to be proud of knowing that one of the best tenors in the world, Aleksandr Antonenko, is from Latvia and that Vyacheslav Sascheyev’s name is listed among the best physicists in the world. Even after the collapse of Maxima supermarket in Zolitude the nationality of victims caught under the rubble and the nationality of rescuers was not important. It was important to save lives. There are many similar examples. So let’s remember that love is stronger than offence and forgiveness is stronger than hate.»

«Important practical work includes the strengthening of the country’s security. It is more complicated than it sounds. Many in Europe have awoken from slumber. Our neighbouring country’s aggressive actions in Ukraine show that military and technological security plays a major role in the world. We need to demonstrate this in words and actions. Military security is not the only important aspect. National security includes the safety and future of every Latvian family.

Every child whose parents have left to work abroad, every pensioner whose children earn money to pay off loans in some other country and every youngster who dreams of leaving to another country to work is a small dent for Latvia’s national security.

In order to make us economically safe, we don’t have to reinvent the bicycle. We just need to make sure our work is more productive in order to attract investments and create well-paid jobs. We need to use and develop skills in areas that secure Latvia’s development in a short-term and long-term perspective. We also have to be respective of nature and work hard to conserve its beauty,» – said the President.

According to him, «Latvia should work together to make sure no one has any harmful and populist ideas that are usually spread by people unfriendly toward us. For example, claims that Latvia’s integration in the Western world was unsuccessful, that the country’s economy is in danger and that it would be far better to explore other options and turn to the more perspective Eastern direction. Everyone should understand that cooperation with the EU and NATO will only bring about safety and welfare to Latvia. […]

Our businessmen also deserve safety. In the past, we had put our most successful businessmen against the country by changing tax rates and by adopting complicated and convoluted regulations and laws. As President of Latvia, I will oppose such practices. The government should world more reasonably and predictably. Every movement and every change should be weighed with help from our social partners.»

«I urge all of us to consider: maybe it is the lawlessness of politicians and the decisions they make that potentially threaten the existence of certain companies. State management cannot function separately from economic developments. We have to consider and respect other people’s interests. They are the ones who pay taxes and create jobs. They also give us reasons to feel proud of our country. In the end, fantastic products are produced in Latvia. They can easily compete with other products in different countries. We need to protect and develop companies that accomplish such goals. The worst thing we can do is intimidate them with tax changes and new bureaucratic requirements.»

Ref: 102.109.109.8634


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