On Tuesday, June 26, the Latvian government supported the proposal to dismiss political party Unity member Olafs Pulks from his post at the Port of Riga. He will be replaced with Girts Greiskalns, Executive Director at the Foreign Investors Council in Latvia.
The government also decided to replace Riga and Ventspils ports’ board members – Transport Ministry’s representatives, once nominated by the Greens and Farmers Union.
Transport Ministry’s Deputy State Secretary Dzineta Innusa will replace Juris Vaskans on the Riga Port’s board, while Transport Ministry’s State Secretary Anrijs Matiss will replace Artis Stucka on the board of the Port of Ventspils.
The government also allowed the Transport Ministry’s representatives to work in several jobs. Innusa represents the state on the boards of the Riga International Airport, Latvian State Radio and Television Center and Roja Port, whereas Matiss is a member of the Liepaja Special Economic Zone’s board.
Pulks’ term of office expired back on May 8 and Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts previously criticized Pulks’ performance.
Pulks’ successor Greiskalns was selected hand in hand with the largest business organizations in Latvia. There were eight candidates altogether, but the Economy Ministry’s Nominations Committee eventually selected Greiskalns as the best.
Greiskalns holds an economics degree from the Riga Technical University and a master’s degree in the management of economic relations. He has been working as the Executive Director at the Foreign Investors Council in Latvia since 2006. His duties include addressing issues raised by the board members, with an aim to improve Latvian business environment and boost competitiveness of the investment climate.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Greiskalns. It says that as a freeport board member he fully agrees to represent the interests of the state and the freeport, not those of political parties or business organizations. He also promises to work in a transparent and professional manner.
As reported, the ruling coalition was arguing about replacement of state representatives at Ventspils and Riga freeport boards. According to the portal Pietiek, right before a government meeting, Unity refused to replace its and Greens/Farmers members.
The parliament vote on boosting the Mortgage Bank’s share capital by 25 million lats (44 million dollars) is said to have played a major role. Most likely, it made Unity revise its existing beneficial relationship with its coalition partner – the Reform Party. As a result, the party had to agree to a political compromise – a promise not to hinder reforms at Ventspils and Riga freeports.