bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 06.12.2019 | Name days: Niklāvs, Niks, Nikolajs
LatviaLatvia

European Commission urges Latvia to cut taxes for poor people

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn its latest recommendations European Commission (EC) urges Latvia to reduce the tax burden for people with low income, resolve problems of social exclusion, increase housing and transport accessibility, as well as perform other important improvements.

EC recommends reducing tax burden for people with low income by diverting it to other sources, specifically capital and property and improving compliance with tax commitments.

EC also reminds that Latvia needs to adopt an effective money laundering enforcement and monitoring system.

The second batch of recommendations is associated with the social sector. EC recommends Latvia to resolve the problem of social exclusion by improving minimum income benefit, minimum retirement pensions and income equality for people with special needs.

On top of that, European experts say Latvia should improve the quality of education, especially for unskilled labourers and unemployed people. This includes increasing their inclusion in vocational education and life-long education programmes.

Other recommendations in this field include better accessibility, quality and cost-efficiency of healthcare.

The third batch of recommendations provides for focusing investment-related policies on innovations, housing accessibility and transport, especially their longevity, resource and energy efficiency, energy inter-connections and digital infrastructure with respect to regional differences.

Describing Latvia’s current economic situation, EC concluded that budget deficit and state debt indexes meet medium-term budget goals. However, there are certain indexes that point to the possibility of this year’s deviation from budget norms could exceed acceptable deviations that accommodate structural reforms. This is why EC believes Latvia should be prepared to perform steps to comply with requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact this year.

European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Domborvskis says for nine years Latvia’s economy continues maintaining growth, adding that it is necessary to continue reducing budget deficit to further enhance the resistance of Latvia’s economy against potential economic shocks in the future.

Latvia’s income ratio to GDP is low when compared to the average in the European Union. This partially limits public services, especially in healthcare and social inclusion. EC states that capital and property in Latvia is applied with relatively low taxes and value stifling used in tax calculation reduces budget revenue even more. European Commission also criticizes the large tax burden put in small wage recipients. There is also the major presence of grey economy in the country, which exceeds that of Lithuania and Estonia.

Experts say Latvia has significantly cut down the risks created by non-residents’ deposits on the finance system, and that the country has started developing solutions to better combat money laundering. Nevertheless, Latvia should also focus on increasing the output of the law enforcement of judicial system to ensure better results.

«EC urges Latvia to improve regulations and compliance to furthere reduce money laundering risks, which is why EC supports the reforms initiated by the Latvian government in this field,» says Dombrovskis.

EC is not entirely satisfied with what Latvia has done to reduce social inequality, saying that poverty level in the country is high, especially among the elderly and people with special needs. Accessibility of social care and social housing is also weak.

Dombrovskis also stresses that Latvia should perform measures to reduce income inequality and the risk of poverty.

Although accomplishments of Latvia’s education system are considered good, the quality remains dependent on students’ place of residents and type of school they attend, EC notes. Experts admit there have been improvements noted in vocational education but it remains unable to secure the interst of students or provide graduates with quality employment opportunities. EC especially underlines the need for Latvia to improve re-qualification and life-long education options.

‘A small healthcare budget and unhealthy lifestyle are the two main reasons why public health in the country is generally poor,’ EC notes, suggesting more rapid reforms in healthcare. The two-basket healthcare system is also criticized as a system that limits equal healthcare accessibility for all, which only further impacts public health.

EC also points to the low amount of funding Latvia allocates towards innovations and research. Funding for these fields comes almost exclusively from EU funds. Latvia does have some strengths in certain innovation sectors, such as IT, communication and technology infrastructure. However, the country does fall behind with investments in human resources, public and private sectors’ cooperation and intellectual property.

«Latvia is advised to invest in innovations and digital infrastructure, transport and energy, including their longevity and efficiency, as well as accessibility of affordable housing,» says Dombrovskis.

Regional inequality is another point in which EC offered criticisms to Latvia. The country should invest in a way that would help reduce regional development differences, EC says.

Although Latvia’s recently adopted Whistle-blower Protection Law and several scandalous corruption cases help improve public trust, «it is still believed the government’s decisions remain dependent on favours, procurement processes remain under risk of corruption because of the lack of transparency, especially in municipal and sate companies,» EC report details.


Leave a reply

For the first time since 2003, woman possibly infected with rabies dies in Latvia

A woman that was possibly infected with rabies has died in Daugavpils, as reported by Disease Prevention and Control. This may be the first death caused by rabies in Latvia since 2003.

French pension strike engages 800 000 people

In France, the first day of mass demonstrations and public sector strike has involved over 800 000 in marches in many cities of the country, as protesters seek to force President Emmanuel Macron not to push forward with pension reform.

Interior Affairs Minister wants to use modern technologies to combat contraband

To ensure a more effective way to combat against contraband, Latvia’s Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens wants to use modern technologies that would work in parallel to customs officers. He said as much in an interview to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 6 December.

Ušakovs says he wants to start in Riga City Council snap elections

Member of the European Parliament and ex-Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs says he is prepared to start in snap elections in Riga if they are organized, as confirmed by Harmony chairman Jānis Urbanovičs.

Germany’s Merkel to visit Auschwitz Holocaust camp for first time

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has headed the German government since 2005, will on Friday, December 6, visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

VID officials will need to have spotless reputation, Saeima decides

From now on, officials of the State Revenue Service will need to have a spotless reputation. This is decided by Saeima’s amendments to the Law on State Revenue Service approved in the final reading on 5 December, as BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.

Brazil at risk of losing vote in UN General Assembly because of high debts

There are risks that because of failure to pay its debts to the United Nations Organization, Brazil could lose its voting rights in the UN General Assembly, Reuters reports.

Strained Lithuanian budget is desperate for additional sources of revenues

With the adoption of the new year’s budget skidding, two major professional groups – teachers and doctors – have had this week their demand for higher salaries satisfied, thus deepening the holes in the shallowing budget. Where to scoop up money to patch all the gaps and satisfy all the demands? This week, Seimas, Lithuanian legislature, was in a frantic search for additional sources of revenues.

Estonian Police and Border Guard Board official detained on suspicion of embezzlement

Estonian Internal Security Service has detained a senior officer of Police and Border Guard Board at the South Prefecture on suspicion of document forgery and embezzlement of more than EUR 250 000, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Saeima supports government’s decision to extend state of emergency in Riga

On Thursday, 5 December, Saeima agreed with the government’s decision to extend the state of emergency with waste management in Riga’s administrative territory until 12 March 2020, as reported by the Saeima’s press-service.

Flu infection rates remain low in Latvia, but infection spread continues nonetheless

A total of 30 clinically confirmed flu infection cases were registered in Latvia’s healthcare institutions. Nevertheless, virus activity remains low in the country, according to the latest monitoring report on influenza and acute upper respiratory tract infections compiled by Disease Prevention and Control Centre.

France braces for intense protests over Macron’s intended pension reform

France shaken by this decade’s biggest protests in which trade unions urge other residents to oppose French President Emmanuel Macron’s intended pension reform, Reuters reports.

Marguerite Fund to sell Conexus shares to Japanese Marubeni fund

Shareholder in Latvian natural gas transmission and storage system operator Conexus Baltic Grid, Marguerite Fund plans to sell its owned 29.06% of Conexus shares to Japanese company Marubeni fund.

Saeima’s majority may move towards Riga City Council’s dismissal

The majority of Latvia’s Saeima may vote towards dismissing Riga City Council, according to unofficial information from LETA. There is also a more reserved position on this, but generally it is admitted that Riga City Council’s dismissal process will be initiated.

National Economy Committee invites reviewing Rail Baltica project’s management structure

«Considering the unstable situation and lasting stagnation with the project’s management, the National Economy Committee invites Transport Ministry to review the structure of RB Rail,» says Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee chairman Jānis Vitenbergs.

«Riga’s residents overpay.» Kleins proposes terminating contract with Rīgas karte

Riga City Council vice-chairman and shareholder in municipal company LLC Rīgas satiksme Druvis Kleins, has ordered the company’s lawyers to assess the option of quickly terminating the contract with LLC Rīgas karte, as confirmed by Kleins, who represents For Riga! bloc in the city council.

Newspaper: Russia plans to deploy a motorized division in Kaliningrad next year

Russia has plans to deploy a motorized division in Kaliningrad Oblast, which shares borders with Poland and Lithuania, as reported by Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Ex-president says conflicts with territorial reform surface where the rich refuse to share

The objective of the territorial reform remains unchanged – forming economically more efficient administrative territories. This means creating counties able to sustain themselves and develop economically. Conflicts with the reform usually surface in areas, where the rich refuse to share. There are also situations when the poor want to receive and do nothing on their own, BNN was told by ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers.

October’s industrial production output in Latvia increases 3%

Compared to October 2018, industrial production output increased by 3 % in October 2019, according to calendar adjusted data at constant prices.

Iceland’s prime minister urges making welfare a budget priority

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir urges the government to focus on priorities that serve the interest of families and nature, not focus exclusively on economic growth, BBC reports.

NATO leaders meet in spite of tension to discuss security challenges

In spite of ongoing rows, leaders of NATO member states met near London on Wednesday, 4 December, to discuss important topics like cyber security and strategic challenges created by China, BBC reports.

Latvian government extends state of emergency with waste management in Riga

Although Riga City Council has stated multiple times that it is not necessary to extend the state of emergency with waste management, Latvia’s government has nevertheless decided to extend it until March 2020.

Nemiro: Latvia has not yet decided if it wants to acquire Gazprom’s shares in Conexus>

Latvia will consider every offer from transmission and storage system operator Conexus Baltic Grid shareholder to purchase company shares, says Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro.

SEB Bank clients now able to use mobile devices to pay for goods and services

SEB Bank clients who have a mobile phone with Android OS are now able to pay for goods and services using their phones. It is possible to use mobile phones to for transactions up to EUR 150 in Latvia and abroad using contact-free terminals, the bank reports.

Kleins: we may have to review who receives public transport discounts in Riga

Considering the complicated financial situation at Rīgas satiksme public transport company, it may be necessary to review which groups of people receive discounts and benefits, said Riga City Council’s vice-chairman Druvis Kleins in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Wednesday, 4 December.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!