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Monday 24.04.2017 | Name days: Nameda, Visvaldis, Ritvaldis
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Unity leader candidates have different opinions on reducing lack of funds in social system

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia’s current social system is good and sustainable, but the problem us that it doesn’t have enough funds, Edvards Smiltens and Andris Piebalgs agreed during Unity candidate debates in Rezekne on 16 May.

The two candidates do have different opinions on how to resolve the situation. Piebalgs is in favour of a social justice system, which means tax division and the introduction of a progressive tax. He explained that Latvian residents should be prepared to share.

Smiltens does not support a rapid tax change. He mentioned demographics as the first problem to be resolved, as well as increasing smaller pensions by taking into account the pensioner’s work experience. He added that it is also necessary to realize a support policy for the birth of the third child, which would mean a more rapid increase of support to families. At the same time, he is against raising minimum wages. He believes it will not solve the problem.

Both candidates have opposite opinions in regards to the security policy. Piebalgs is certain that Latvia should reintroduce obligatory military service. He expressed confusion as to how often youngsters are declined service in the army due to health problems. According to him, the army performs all kinds of functions nowadays and therefore a wider range of people can be used for the army’s needs. Piebalgs noted that there are actual military threats coming from Russia.

Smiltens does not support the introduction of mandatory military service, because such an initiative would require at least 3% to 4% of GDP. In addition, Smiltens believes military threats are the primary reason for concerns in Latvia. He believes the main reasons for concern currently come from social and economic security, because the lack of security is what ruined Ukraine.

Speaking of how Unity’s political offer differs from other parties, Piebalgs said that the current government does not have an actual economic growth plan. Unity, on the other hand, has something to be proud of, including the continuing reduction of the level of grey economy in Latvia, airBaltic’s accomplishment in overcoming losses, etc. Piebalgs congratulated his party, saying that it is the only truly European oriented and non-populist party in Latvia. Piebalgs does not see any large errors in Unity’s behaviour up until now.

Smiltens described Unity as a party capable of leadership and ability to take responsibility.

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