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Saturday 21.07.2018 | Name days: Meldra, Meldris, Melisa
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BATL: transit decline is a threat to social security

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBaltic Association – Transit and Logistics President Inga Antāne has turned to members of the European Parliament in Latvia and EC Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis with an open letter, asking the European Commission to take measures to protect Europe’s ports by providing support programmes similar to other sectors.

She says that a situation when the cargo crisis caused by Russia’s decision to divert its cargoes to its own ports is allowed to increase social inequality in Latvia, which can have equal political, economic and social risks, cannot be allowed.

«Poverty and social inequality can be a serious threat the country’s democracy. Such a serious crisis in the transit industry cannot possible have no effect on the social sector. This is why we invite MEPs as Latvia’s representatives and ambassadors in the European Parliament to promote this matter on the level of the European Commission to help strengthen Europe’s external ports by providing support programmes to help them recover previous cargo volumes. Such a support programme would help divert cargoes from other ports or help attract new cargoes. Similar support programmes have been introduced in other industries to help reduce unemployment. In Latvia’s case it is important to ensure social security and reduce the country’s dependence on Russia,» comments Antāne.

Over the course of the last for years the volume of railway freight has declined by 23%. Cargo turnover at Latvia’s ports has declined 16%. BATL president says that estimates show Latvia’s national economy has lost at least EUR 132 million since 2014 and losses increase with every passing day.

«This has an unambiguous effect on Latvia’s economic situation, because transport and logistics is the second largest industry in the country that brings the state budget more than one billion euros worth of revenue every year. The industry also provides jobs to 70 to 80 thousand people. Latvia shares a border with Russia, which puts the country at risk of high political, social and economic threats. This also weakens the country’s national economy. The country’s second largest national economic sector suffers, as do other sectors, reducing paid tax amounts and increasing unemployment. All this puts more residents at risk of poverty,» says BATL president.

The association notes that ombudsman Juris Jansons had mentioned in his report to the Saeima that one topical problem in the country is the large number of people at risk of poverty. According to the ombudsman’s estimates, there are more than 600,000 people subjected to the risk of poverty in the country.

BATL reminds that Latvia has always been a sea superpower because of its geographical location. Even though the country has a small size, there are three large ports (Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja). All three of them are connected by railway infrastructure. «All of them are major export ports whose cargo turnover depends largely on transit cargoes coming in from Russia, Belarus and other CIS countries. This means Latvia’s cargo flow is directly influenced by economic situations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and other countries, because they are the ones who use Latvia’s ports to deliver goods to and from Europe.»


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