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Saturday 17.08.2019 | Name days: Oļegs, Vineta
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BNN summary of the week: government formation in Latvia, Brexit plans, and Latvia’s 100th birthday

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIf someone hoped to see Latvia compile a government before the national holiday, they are going to be disappointed – three parties have decided to exit government formation talks headed by New Conservative Party. NCP’s prime minister candidate Jānis Bordāns receive criticism for having too ambitious and expensive goals. NCP, on the other hand, says parties did not try to study the party’s offers.

Now it seems the national holiday will pass with talks from political parties, while President Raimonds Vējonis decides between nominating either Aldis Gobzems or Artis Pabriks as Latvia’s next prime minister.

The situation was tense abroad as well this week – criticizing Brexit agreement, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office lost four members, thereby increasing the number of ministers who have left the office in the past two years to twenty.

Still, the week in Latvia will conclude on a festive note, after all – the country celebrates 100 years since its foundation. This date marks a milestone for Latvia’s accomplishments and look towards the future. Congratulations!

PRIORITIES: EP says Moldova and Georgia should continue initiated reforms

Members of the European Parliament welcome the reforms Georgia has commenced. At the same time, Moldova was criticized for its worsened state of democracy and rule of law, as reported by EP press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.

The European Parliament approved two resolutions, in which implementation of associations agreements with Moldova and Georgia are covered, says Znotiņa-Znota.

MEPs welcome the reforms implemented by Georgia and the progress achieved with the association agreement. It is stressed that EU has become Georgia’s largest trade partners and the largest source of direct foreign investments.

This is why MEPs invite Georgian authorities to ensure stability and continuation of reforms to improve residents’ economic and social conditions. High levels of corruption in the country, problems with independence of the court justice system, human rights, use of media for political purposes and nature protection remain the chief concerns when it comes to Georgia, the resolution mentions.

MEPs also regretted seeing Russia continue occupying territories that belong to Georgia. MEPs once again voiced support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Full article here

ORDER: Latvian president gives parties holiday break to continue talks

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis calls off nomination of NCP candidate Jānis Bordāns to for government. Talks regarding the next prime minister candidate will continue after the state holiday.

«I expect parties to use this time to continue consultations and look for common ground,» said the president.

Immediately after the holiday Vējonis will meet with KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems and Attīstībai/Par! prime minister candidate Artis Pabriks to discuss with them their vision for the government formation process.

The order with which the president’s nomination of Bordāns is void will be signed by Vējonis on Thursday, 15 November.

The President’s Chancellery admits that Bordāns informed the president about the progress with the formation of the government on Wednesday, 14 November. He admitted no longer seeing any options to form the government and secure majority Saeima support.

Full article here

CORRUPTION: Lithuania’s corruption buster: firms donating to hospitals stand better chance in tenders

The majority of the winners of the tenders organised by major Lithuanian hospitals have expressed their gratitude to the health providers by making donations to them in the form of financial support.

The scheme spans at least 10 major Lithuanian hospitals, including the Santaros Clinics in Vilnius, the Kaunas Clinics in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, and the main hospitals in the towns of Panevėžys and Šiauliai. The corrupt dealings were revealed this by Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (STT) this week.

According to it, supporters of hospitals or related associations have a clear edge in winning public procurement tenders. There have been a number of cases of the kind, according to STT.

That Lithuanian hospitals favour certain suppliers has long been a topic of the rumour mill, and the media too, however only now STT, the corruption watchdog, is ringing alarm bells.

Asked about the timing, Renata Endružytė, the Communications head of the Service, told BNN that STT commences a probe only when it has gathered «sufficient evidence” of a corrupt activity.

«The Service has been gathering the evidence in form of different data for the last couples of years,» she accentuated.

Full article here

DESIRE: Latvian parties pick candidates to work in Saeima committees

Parties elected to the 13th Saeima have picked representatives to work in the parliament’s standing committees. Final decision will be made 20 November. Harmony may be represented by deputies Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Attīstībai/Par! has picked Artis Pabriks, and Union of Greens and Farmers has picked Uldis Augulis.

New Unity will be represented by Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ – Rihards Kols and Dace Melbārde, KPV LV – Didzis Šmits, and New Conservative Party – Linda Ozola.

For the National Security Committee Harmony has picked Valērijs Agešins, AP – Daniels Pavļuts, UGF – Māris Kučinskis, New Unity – Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, National Alliance – Ināra Mūrniece, KPV LV – Aldis Gobzems, and NCP – Juris Jurašs.

Harmony has also picked Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, Igors Pimenovs and Ļubov Švecova to represent the party in the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee, AP has picked Mārtiņš Bondars and Juris Pūce, UGf has picked Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Janīna Jalinska, New Unity – Edgars Rinkēvičs, National Alliance – Ilze Indriksone and Aleksandrs Kiršteins, KPV LV – Ramona Petraviča and Atis Zakatistovs, NCP – Gatis Eglītis and Reinis Znotiņš.

For the Legal Affairs Committee Harmony has picked Agešins and Jūlija Stepaņenko, AP – Vita Anda Tēraude, UGF – Gundars Daudze, New Unity – Lībiņa-Egnere, National Alliance – Ritvars Jansons, KPV LV – Ralfs Nemiro and Gobzems, NCP – Juta Strīķe and Jānis Bordāns.

Full article here

BREXIT: British government loses two more members; EU sets date for Brexit summit

In the UK government, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Northern Ireland’s junior minister have resigned in disagreement with the country’s draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, already passed by the government.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party said on Thursday Prime Minister Theresa May had no authority left after her Brexit minister Dominic Raab resigned.

French news agency AFP reported that Raab, who had been in place since July, resigned less than an hour after Shailesh Vara quit as a junior Northern Ireland minister over the draft accord.

British-Canadian news agency Reuters cited an announcement by the team of the British Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn as evaluating: «This is the twentieth minister to resign from Theresa May’s government in her two year premiership. Theresa May has no authority left and is clearly incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that commands even the support of her Cabinet – let alone parliament and the people of our country».

British public broadcaster BBC reported that head of the European Union Council, Donald Tusk stated on Thursday, that member states would have 48 hours to evaluate the draft agreement and their leaders would then convene on November 25 to give their final approval «if nothing extraordinary happens».

Full article here

CELEBRATION:

This year Latvia celebrates its one hundredth birthday. The Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in Riga City Second Theatre, which is now known as Latvia’s National Theatre, on 18 November 1918.

Residents and guests to the country, as well as people all over the world congratulate Latvia. Canada has even decided to light the Niagara Falls with colours of Latvia’s flag. The team at BNN also extends their heartfelt congratulations to every person in the world who finds Latvia dear!


  1. Günther Tombal/The Netherlands says:

    I wish Latvia all the best for the future and hope it will bring happiness and
    prosperity to its people !

Week in Lithuania: PM Skvernelis undergoes surgery, Nausėda meets Merkel, rebukes Latvia

Last week, President Gitanas Nausėda rejected the government’s candidate for EU judge, hints of big changes at Šiaulių Bankas ahead

Independent Deputies Faction joins forces with Honour to Serve Riga

Riga City Council’s Independent Deputies Faction has signed a cooperation agreement with Honour to Serve Riga political party, pledging support for the party’s mayoral candidate Oļegs Burovs, as LETA was told by the faction’s leader Valērijs Petrovs on Monday, 18 August.

Saeima’s MPC investigation committee requests information on every issued license

The parliamentary committee formed to investigate the mandatory procurement component has requested access to information regarding every issued MPC license and decision made by officials in regards to this field, says the committee’s representative Ilze Vanaga.

Latvian athlete receives two-year disqualification

Former Latvian long jumper Ineta Radeviča has received a two-year disqualification, as confirmed by International Association of Athletics Federation’s Athletics Integrity Unit.

Minister: state budget funds will not be used to compensate PNB Bank’s clients

The Deposit Guarantee Fund is sufficient to pay compensations to affected PNB Bank clients. This means not a cent from Latvia’s state budget will be used, said Latvia’s Finance Minister Jānis Reirs in a telephone conversation with public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 16 August.

Estonia to invest 22 million in construction of a new TV house

Estonian government has set aside EUR 22 million for the construction of a new public television building, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Another one falls – Latvian FCMC halts PNB Bank’s operations

Operations of PNB Bank [formerly Norvik Banka] have been halted in Latvia, as confirmed by Finance and Capital Market Commission.

Unemployment index in Latvia drops – rate down to 6.4% in Q2

In Q2 2019 Latvian unemployment rate constituted 6.4 %. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points, and compared to the rate recorded a year ago, it dropped by 1.3 percentage points.

64.7% of Latvia’s population reportedly employed in Q2 2019

905.6 thousand people or 64.7 % of Latvia’s population aged 15–74 were employed in Q2 2019.

Lithuanian Conservatives’ tensions: can the party split?

The Conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) have risen to unseen heights lately – although in the opposition now, in 2016 parliamentary election the party racked up a record support in its 30 years’ history.

Minister: Latvia’s social budget surplus has reached one billion

The surplus of the state social budget has come close of the pre-crisis level – EUR 1 billion, said Latvian Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on 15 August.

Riga City Council permitted to elect mayor after two-month deadline

In spite of the fact that 21 August will mark two months of Riga City Council working without a mayor, a condition that permits Latvia’s Saeima to dismiss the entire city council, deputies of the municipality will nonetheless have the right to elect a mayor after the deadline, says Environment Protection Minister Juris Pūce’s advisor for legal affairs Valdis Verners.

Lithuanian president unhappy with Latvia’s decision to purchase energy from Belarus

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has voiced sadness over Latvia’s decision to purchase electrical energy produced at Astravets nuclear power plant in Belarus not far from the Lithuanian border. He admits, however, that this decision was not unexpected for him.

State Real Estate claims ReRe Būve 1 may be trying to circumvent the law

Construction company Rere Būve 1 publicly voices desire to continue implementing the construction contract. However, the construction company’s submitted work schedule for reconstruction of New Riga Theatre has everything changed – volume of work, terms and budget, Latvian State Real Estate reports.

Lithuanian mountaineer dies climbing French Alps

Lithuanian 38-year-old mountaineer Vytautas Mažeika died in a 50 m fall in the French Alps, Lithuanian public media LRT reports with reference to 15min.lt.

Estonia decides to reform pension system; increase not promised

Helir-Valdor Seeder, leader of Estonian coalition party Isamaa, has confirmed that the government has agreed on his proposed pension reform, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Ruling party in Lithuania promises national agreement for education affairs

While more and more small town schools close down in Lithuania, the leader of the ruling party promises a «national agreement» for education affairs, as reported by Lithuanian public media LRT.

Viesturs Zeps’ has yet to convince NCP and Unity to support him as mayoral candidate

Mayoral candidate in Riga Viesturs Zeps still has not convinced New Conservative Party and Unity to support him, according to what he said in an interview to public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta panorama on Thursday, 15 August.

Audit: planning problems impede growth of Latvia’s defensive capabilities

Problems with planning are the main reason why Latvia’s defensive capabilities are developing slowly, as concluded by State Audit.

Minister: increase of doctors’ wages is a priority over all other promises

First it is necessary to increase doctors’ wages. Then it will be possible to tackle all other promises, said Latvian Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele during a meeting of the Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee on Wednesday, 14 August.

Is Latvia becoming more hospitable? Tourist upturn observed

A total of 781.1 thousand visitors stayed at Latvian tourist accommodation establishments in Q2 2019, which is 1.1 % more than in Q2 2018.

Village in Russia to be evacuated following nuclear accident

Russian authorities have announced evacuation of Nenoksa village, as it is the closest to the military area where a nuclear accident recently happened. This may mean the situation there is far more dangerous than initially reported, as reported by New York Times.

Lithuania’s president says he sees no reason to meet with Putin

A meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is unlikely and would be pointless, said Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda in an interview to public media LRT.

Shadow of political dealings over SRS. ZZS people – Knoks, Podiņš, Vaivars

Although the State Revenue Service has never had a truly spotless reputation, there is now a much bigger and darker shadow hovering over the service’s director general Ieva Jaunzeme. Serious concerns have been voiced in regards to possible employment of «chosen people» in important posts, which allows them to either halt or push criminal processes forward in order to make life difficult for their political opponents, pretending to fight the good fight while, in reality, realizing some «political hit».

Prime Minister: 2020 budget will be Latvia’s largest one yet

The next year’s budget will be the largest in the history of Latvia and will exceed EUR 10 billion, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Wednesday, 14 August.

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