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Monday 25.09.2017 | Name days: Rauls, Rodrigo
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Supreme Court: hidden lobbying has hurt Latvia a lot over the years

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Hidden lobbying, which is very common in Latvia, has hurt the country a lot over the years. It is one of the elements that contributes to distrust towards the government,» believes chairperson of the Supreme Court’s Administrative Cases Department Veronika Krumina.

At the seminar organized by the State President’s Legislative Environment Committee to discuss the necessity for specific regulations for lobbying in Latvia, Krumina noted there is a widespread belief among society that usually laws are approved in the interest of some narrow group of people. This has created the belief that decision-makers – the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers – do not work in the interest of society.

Krumina said that even courts, which serve as enforces of the law whose role it is to determine the will of legislators, often are unable to explain in whose interests certain legislative acts were developed.

The Supreme Court reports that although legislative lobbying does contribute to better and more detailed decision-making processes, Latvian society views words like lobbying and lobbyists with negativity. «Current regulations have established a fine line between lobbying and influencing of state officials. Rules also provide requirements to provide specific information about any and all consultations that were performed in relation to specific legislative acts. Still, this does not mean lobbying depends solely on one’s conscience.»

New and more expansive lobbying legislation would help lift the shadow of suspicion, the judge says, adding that Latvia would have to invest a lot of resources into convincing society that lobbying is part of the decision-making process.

«If our education system does not teach our youngsters that all of us are the ones in charge of the country and deputies put in power are the result of our work, if we do not explain that paying taxes is the duty of each and every one of us, then how are we supposed to create a lobbying system free of hidden lobbying,» asks Krumina.

SC notes that the discussion was used to search for answers to questions associated with lobbyists’ influence and goals reachable using lobbying regulations.

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