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Tuesday 19.12.2017 | Name days: Sarmis, Lelde
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Summary: accomplishments of Straujuma’s government

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Because of geopolitical tension, it was necessary to review priorities and look at the most important matters through a prism of security. Knowing that the country’s future is closely related to reasonable political actions, the government made several important decisions in regard to security,» – says Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.

«We decided to focus on strengthening national security by making a number of important decisions. This allowed us to take several important steps to improve internal security, welfare of residents and social security mechanisms. There are also several accomplishments in the field of economic security. This government has developed good guidelines for the next government to work with in order to improve life for Latvia and its residents,» – admits the Latvian PM.

Considering the current geopolitical situation, the government has agreed to begin cooperation with the British Defence Ministry in regard to the realization of the mechanization of the land force infantry brigades. In response to events outside of Latvia, the government has also been following developments in the field of national security, deciding to allocate 2% of GDP to defence budget, as reported by Cabinet of Ministers.

«One of the most important factors to help improve residents’ welfare is pension indexation, which was planned for October 1st. An equal amount of pensions is planned to be indexed – EUR 285. Authorities are gradually carrying out measures to improve employment for groups of residents who have difficulties with finding work. This has helped increase the level of employment in the country,» – said Straujuma.

The Partnership Agreement with the European Union Fund for 2014-2020 planning period was signed this year. This plan details Latvia’s strategy, priorities and order in regard to effective use of EU funds during the next planning period, which includes the investment of EUR 4,418 billion in economic growth and employment in Latvia.

Reforms and improvements were implemented to the construction industry after the Zolitude tragedy. This was done in order to secure legality, security and quality to the construction process and provide responsibility to construction specialists in order to set clear lines of involvement in construction processes and provide clarity and transparency for the public.

«Considering events related to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and unclear development of this situation, there are certain risks to Latvia’s economy that force legislators to review and rethink economic development for the near future. Latvia has taken upon itself to maintain a reasonable and cautious fiscal policy. As a result – fiscal goals for the next three years provide for gradual improvements that will make sure the general government budget’s structural deficit does not exceed 1.0% of GDP in 2015, 0.9% in 2016 and 0.8% in 2017. A significant amount of support is planned to be provided to producers (EUR 6 million) as part of the Green Procurement Strategy, which is aimed to support local producers. The Cabinet of Ministers also plans to exact amendments to regulations in order to reduce administrative burden for the transport and logistics industry,» – explains the PM.

The government regularly reviewed matters related to Liepājas Metalurgs. As it is known, the Cabinet of Ministers has issued a mandate to Finance Minister Andris Vilks to sign an agreement with other LM creditors on behalf of the state to sell the company. The sale is expected to be completed in the first week of October.

The government has also handled matters related to the attraction of investors for Citadele Bank. Talks with investors continue in regard to conditions of the contract and technical matters. The final decision will be made as soon as talks have concluded.

Amendments to the Criminal Law have been successfully implemented in order to prohibit production and realization of new psychoactive substances.

In the education segment, authorities have begun working on a new teachers’ salary calculation model. Starting with September 1st, 2014, all 1st – 3rd grade pupils will be provided with free lunches. A step forward has been made in the realization of structural reforms as well.

A three-year plan for the improvement of primary healthcare has been approved in the healthcare segment. This will make healthcare more available, effective and affordable on all levels.

Work has been concluded in regard to the construction and opening of the new building of the Latvian National Library. Through cooperation with partners in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, work continues on the massive Baltic Way Stories project, which is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way.

Considering the situation in Latvia following the spread of the African swine fever, it was important to secure quick and appropriate response to the situation in order to decide on future actions. In parallel to the establishment of a state of emergency, the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 was submitted to the European Commission. This is expected to secure and improve competitiveness and revenue of farmers, entrepreneurs and the development of Latvia’s agriculture in the next seven year.

Baltic States have agreed to found a joint-enterprise as part of the Rail Baltica project. Also, in order to improve security on roads and reduce the number of road traffic accidents and deaths, the Road Traffic Safety plan 2014-2016 has been developed this year.

Active work continues in preparation for Latvia’s presidency of the EU Council in the first half-year of 2015. The EU General Affairs Council has approved the presidency programme that was developed based on proposals submitted by Latvia and other partners (Italy and Luxembourg). A lot of work was put in allowing Latvia to join OECD.

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