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Wednesday 18.07.2018 | Name days: Rozālija, Roze
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BNN summary of the week: Kucinskis in Ridzene’s room and government’s rushed decisions

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Truth; Business and Growth.

CHANGE: Antane says government has set ‘checkmate’ for Latvia’s transport industry

With plans to increase excise tax on fuel, the government has set ‘checkmate’ to Latvia’s transport industry and transit sector. Instead of the awaited tax revenue compensation, Latvia risks considerably reducing the competitiveness of the industry that brings in one billion euros to the economy every year, says Inga Antane, President of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics.

«Considering that fuel price forms a very important component for railway cargo transports, up to 30% of the price – increasing costs to make Latvia’s transit corridor more expensive is insane,» Antane says.

She notes that in a situation when cargo volumes from Russia are already in rapid decline, any upward changes to the transit corridor’s costs would have catastrophic consequences for the competitiveness of Latvian ports and railway.

«When making its decision on increasing excise tax for fuel, the government should have assessed all possible risks for the country’s economy. The government also should have consulted with industry representatives before making any decisions. Unfortunately, it seems this decision was made irresponsibly and was rushed out the gate without any reason. Did the government at least calculate the effect on railway transports? How much will we lose from the possible cargo loss, and how will we compensate this loss?» Antane adds.

Full article here

BUSINESS: Latvia signs minister declaration on 5G

On Tuesday, 18 July, a meeting of the informal council of EU Competitiveness and Telecommunications Ministers took place in Tallinn. During this meeting, members of the council signed a minister declaration on 5G. Latvia was represented by Transport Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Edgars Tavars, as BNN was informed by the ministry.

Signing the declaration, EU telecommunications ministers thereby demonstrated the intention to make Europe the leading region in the world for the development of 5G market.

The declaration provides for an agreement on specific steps EU member states are committed to make in order to assist with the development of 5G and services associated with it. Latvian Transport Ministry notes that this declaration will enhance general guidelines for the development of 5G standards and will set the foundation for dialogues with interested parties about 5G matters.

Full article here

FIGHT: Delna believes Duklavs’ remainder in power shames the entire Cabinet of Ministers

Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs’ remainder in his current post shames the entire Cabinet of Ministers and only serves to reduce society’s trust in the government, believes Delna – Society for Openness.

On Tuesday, 18 July, Delna sent Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis an open letter with a request to request Duklavs’ and Transport Minister Uldis Augulis dismissal in relation to the so-called Oligarch talks, which, according to Delna, is evidence of possible violations.

According to publicly available information, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in cooperation with State Revenue Service have commenced inspections in relation to information detailed in Oligarch talks, specifically in relation to Duklavs’ owned property on the territory of Riga Freeport. Delna believes Duklavs’ remainder in his post shames the entire Cabinet of Ministers and reduces society’s trust in the government.

It is also mentioned in the letter that Ridzene talks were attended by other noteworthy Latvian politicians – Duklavs and Augulis. On top of that, both ministers met with Russian Vice-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich last summer without first informing the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Delna notes that Kucinskis was asked about that meeting. No answer followed. Because of that, Delna believes Kucinskis «hid information about the government’s motives from society, which can be interpreted as support of interests of individual parties».

Full article here

TRUTH: Kucinskis also met with Slesers in the infamous meeting room of Ridzene hotel

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis admits having met with Ainars Slesers in the now infamous meeting room in Ridzene hotel a couple of times, specifically when the People’s Party made the decision to join Par labu Latviju.

In his interview to Ir magazine, the prime minister said he was the leader of the People’s Party Saeima faction at the time, and even then it seemed to him the party was not too trusting of him.

«I understood Slesers’ style and I knew his sense of personal greatness is considerable. I also wanted to sort things out. Business in politics – this is what happened,» says Kucinskis.

He met with Slesers during the pre-election period. The deciphered talks recorded in Ridzene imply Slesers proposed forming a coalition with Harmony centre. Kucinskis, on the other hand, mentioned in his interview that there was no support for this idea.

«I also remember walking with Mr. Ulmanis during the campaign. Now it’s about Harmony – we agreed with the ex-president that there would not be any support for it. A lot is exaggerated in comparison with what someone would have wanted,» said Kucinskis.

Full article here

GROWTH: Saeima deputies sign agreement on Oligarch talks committee’s formation

So far only parliament members have signed the agreement on the formation of a Saeima committee for the investigation of Oligarch talks. Neither of them represents Unity – Karlis Serzants from Union of Greens and Farmers and Einars Cilinskis from VL-TB/LNNK.

18 out of 34 necessary signatures have been collected so far. Still, it is expected that deputies that are not present in the parliament today will sign the agreement tomorrow.

Only then the Saeima will be able to decide on the formation of this parliamentary committee.

Full article here


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Languages «a must-have». An interview with ex-president about political market methods and communist approach

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