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Sunday 25.09.2016 | Name days: Rauls, Rodrigo
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Unity candidates: Latvia doesn’t have much time to resolve demographic problems

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn order to resolve demographic problems in Latvia, it is necessary to attract foreign students, increase benefits for families, secure kindergarten accessibility and create a new housing programme for families, Unity leader candidates Edvards Smiltens and Andris Piebalgs agreed at Unity debates in Liepaja on 19 May.

One of the central topics of debates was the resolution of demographic and migration problems in Latvia. Both candidates agreed that Latvia does not have much time to resolve demographic problems. If problems are not resolved as soon as possible, Latvia will be a completely different country in the near future.

«We have some tough choices to make. If 20 years from now families do not have four children at the very least, we will not survive. Therefore, it is necessary to support the third child policy now. Healthcare system requires support and serious changes. We should also think about helping Latvians return to their home country from foreign lands. One of the possible solutions to attract Latvians living abroad is to organize camps for their children in Latvia and invite them to study here,» – suggested Smiltens.

«If we fail to secure an increase of the population, we will have to think of ways to replace our people. I would rather not have to replace them with migrants. It would be better to use foreign students,» – said Smiltens. He added that Latvia also has to fulfill its duties and resettle approximately 700 asylum seekers from South Europe.

Piebalgs, on the other hand, noted that the government should worry less about making the divorce process easier and worry more about creating awareness for women that they will be able to raise children and still have a comfortable life. «We have specific measures in mind – the size of benefits for children, kindergarten accessibility and a new housing programme for parents. It is not possible to convince women to give birth if they have no certainty about their ability to afford having children,» – said Piebalgs.

Smiltens agreed that support measures for families are necessary. However, he has more sceptical views for the future. «Even if we sort out all systems, even if we create the impression that it is possible to raise a child, we will not be able to raise enough children in Latvia. This is why we will have to consider bringing in other people to support our country’s economy. I would rather see Latvia become a centre for higher education. This is why it would be best to attract foreign students and see so that they can contribute to Latvia’s economic development,» – said Smiltens.

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