Latviski English По-русски
Friday 26.04.2019 | Name days: Rūsiņš, Sandris, Alīna

Minister: Latvia needs representatives in EP the country can be proud of

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Latvian voters should keep in mind that Latvia is represented by only eight members in the European Parliament. It is vital to find candidates we would not be ashamed of. There is no other recipe – if you want to affect the composition of the European Parliament, it is important to remember that results from votes. Nothing will change if we stand on the sidelines,» said Latvian Culture Minister and MEP candidate Dace Melbārde in an interview to BNN.

«I was surprised to see that many European Parliament candidates are not associated with politics»

Latvia’s Culture Minister Dace Melbārde (National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’) is a candidate for European Parliament Elections 2019. She says «it is time to try something new». «I am in favour of rotating officials in posts. People should change jobs every now and then. Sitting in one place, drowning in routine eventually forces a person to notice the time has come for change.» She says this is necessary «to ensure dynamic progress and motivation to accomplish more».

When asked by BNN who could replace her as Latvia’s Culture Minister if she is elected in the European Parliament, Melbārde said: «I have some potential candidates picked out, but it is too soon to speak of this.»

The minister said it was a surprise for her to see among candidates for the European Parliament people who are not associated with politics. As for her colleague, so to speak, Ansis Pūpols, who is a former and not-so-former journalist from Nekā personīga and his decision to submit his candidacy in spite of the fact that the two professions are incompatible based on the journalist code of ethics, she said the following: «What he should do is draw a clear line when he becomes a politician and stops being a journalist. Those are two incompatible fields.»

She notes that this is good – seeing people from different fields taking part in EP elections. However, she is still surprised to see among candidates so many people who were not previously ‘seen’ in national politics. She also says it’s not just journalists who seen odd as candidates but politologists as well.

As for standing Latvian politicians who have plans to become MEP candidates, Melbārde said she was surprised to see Riga City Council Chairman Nils Ušakovs and former Vice-Chairman Andris Ameriks among them.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«In the European Parliament we need to fight more for cultural objects in Latvia»

European Union has a significant effect on Latvia’s cultural happenings, says Melbārde. This is why she sees her contribution in the EP being delivered through humanitarian field. «We see that Latvia is stuck in many topics when it comes to EU level. This includes use of EU structure funds.» As an example she mentioned major infrastructure projects like the National Concert Hall, for which the EU has set certain obstacles. According to her, it is more important to fight for culture objects in Latvia, and the EP should be the representative to defend them on a European level.

As for what should be improved in the EU, Melbārde outlined the topic regarding security of the information space – it is important to ensure quick responses to violations. According to her, the national information space is limited – even with EU regulations. «At the same time, it is necessary to establish a single EU position and cooperation with social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Google – and their owners,» said the minister.

Citizens’ involvement is too low – it should be changed on a European level

As one of the topical problems, the minister outlined the low participation of Latvian civil society, which should be changed rapidly. «This is in our common interests to ensure more youngsters take part in the EU process, because its future largely depends on youngsters’ belief in EU projects.»

«Currently youngsters’ participation in EP elections is very low. While on average EP elections are attended by 40% of residents with voting rights, this ratio is only 27% among residents aged under 25, which is a very low index. This is where we ask why youngsters do not see the EU important in their lives and if they even see Europe’s and their country’s future, considering the growing globalization processes and people becoming dependent on one another, which means more problems for the country to mutually resolve with participating countries. In this case it is important to identify the topics that should be resolved multilaterally and ones in which the EU should not interfere.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«I think the declining number of voters is associated with the fact that people do not receive full information how decisions made by the EU affect their lives. This is a rock tossed in the garden of the European Parliament. This is one mission – for MEPs to explain in state language what happens in the parliament and use all available tools, not just post some advertisements in some paper every now and then,» says the MEP candidate.

She also says: «As for global affairs in need of cooperation between countries, I would outline climate change. There are also topics such as terrorism and money laundering prevention. EU has been very successful here. I can say our political association’s and my personal slogan going to EP elections is that the EU should do less but better. We need to identify topics in which joint action is needed and where all countries would benefit while also enhancing each country’s own sovereignty.»

As for climate change and why Latvia should hurry and improve civil responsibility, the minister said the root of the problem lies in the fact that people do not feel climate change all that much. This is where, according to her, civil responsibility appears and should be nurtured so that people look towards EU’s and the world’s future more. «Just because climate change does not seem apparent now, this does not mean our society should not be worried.»

«It is important to raise awareness among residents and show them how to change their lifestyle. Education and culture topics can assist here, because sometimes strong films or art exhibitions could help raise awareness and influence people’s opinion more than decisions made by the European Parliament,» Melbārde told BNN.

Leave a reply

70 000 air passengers affected by strike in Scandinavian SAS airline

Due to a strike by pilots of the Scandinavian airline SAS in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, on Friday about 70,000 passengers have been affected by over 600 cancelled flights.

Verbal terror in Ventspils City Council forces opposition to ask government to step in

«We have informed the government that as representatives of Ventspils residents we no longer have any moral and ethical reasons to participate in the work done by the illegal administration of Ventspils City Council. We have told the government that we will not participate in the work of the municipality until the government and authorities have performed measures to stabilize the situation in Ventspils City Council,» as reported by deputies of the opposition of Ventspils City Council.

Estonians worried about haze, smell of smoke, apparently from fires in Russia or Belarus

In central and southern Estonia, a cloud of bluish haze has made people and fire-fighters worried about possible wildfires, but meteorologists and NASA point to smoke coming from Russia and Belarus.

9th Youth Saeima to discuss the place of youngsters in Latvia and EU

The 9th Youth Saeima gathered for its first meeting on Friday, 26 April. The main topic of the meeting will be the place of youngsters in Latvia and Europe, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Video: Biden joins U.S. Presidential race, branded 'Sleepy Joe' by Trump

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has announced his candidacy for the U.S. 2020 presidential election. U.S. President Donald Trump has charactarised his potential rival as 'Sleepy Joe'.

Following Deglava Bridge closure, minister expects Riga City Council to regulate traffic

Following the closure of A.Deglava Street overpass, Latvia’s Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens expects Riga City Council to become involved in regulating road traffic and actively informing society about alternative roles.

Ukraine's new language law seen as divisive by President-elect Zelenskiy

Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada has passed a law giving a special status to the Ukrainian language and making it mandatory for public sector workers. The measure has been charactarised as divisive both by President-elect Zelenskiy and Russia.

Meteorologists promise summer-like warmth up to +27° C in Latvia on weekends

On Friday, 26 April, weather in Latvia will be dictated by low atmospheric pressure area. Some local rain and even thunderstorms are expected in the afternoon, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

National Media Council reduces LTV board to one

Latvia’s National Electronic Mass Media Council has decided to change the status of the board of LTV, reducing the number of board members from three to one, as reported by

Latvia’s employment indexes exceeded average EU indexes in 2018

Last year, Latvia’s employment level for residents aged 20-64 years was 76.8%, which is higher than the average index in the European Union. Latvia was among 13 member states who had achieved employment goals for 2020 last year, according to data compiled by Eurostat.

Lithuanian teachers follow into their Latvian and Polish colleagues’ footsteps

Teachers across the Baltics, and in Lithuania too, are clamouring for higher wages. Encouraged by teacher strikes earlier the month in Poland, also by teachers’ growing dissatisfaction with the remuneration in neighbouring Latvia, at least one influential Lithuanian teachers’ trade union said this week it does not rule out streets protests if the restarted negotiations with the Ministry of Science and Education fail to produce desired results.

CIB: consumer lending in a rise, whereas mortgage lending is down in Latvia

The number of loan commitments among private persons has reached a number of 1.1 million loan contracts. The total loan burden for residents for both delayed and timely paid loans is nearing EUR 6 billion, according to data from the Credit Information Bureau.

Latvia’s Saeima supports publication of KGB expanded filing system

On Thursday, 25 April, Saeima deputies supported in the first reading amendments to the Law on Preservation, Use and Publication of Documents of KGB, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

First toast to Kim-Putin friendship made in Russia's Far East

In Russia, the first meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been held, followed by Putin's remarks that for Pyongyang to denuclearize, it needs legal assurances that its sovereignty would be respected.

Latvian Transport Ministry to focus on public transport service in 2020 budget

Latvia’s Transport Ministry’s priorities in the 2020 budget will be, like in previous years, public transport services and road repairs, says Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits.

Latvian Saeima proposes celebrating 13 May as State Language Day

On Thursday, 25 April, deputies of Latvia’s Saeima conceptually supported amendments to the Law on Festive, Memorable and Celebrated Days. Amendments provide for delegating to the Cabinet of Ministers the rights to set special holidays dedicated to specific jobs.

Friendship behind closed doors – «grey cabinet of ministers» and «good deed champions»

Einars Repše’s phrase – «How can you not promise?» – has long since become part of political folklore. The Union of Greens and Farmers is no exception – do one thing, promise another and focus on something completely different after elections.

Putin nearing eastern Ukraine to Russia by offering passports

An order to facilitate issuing Russian passports for residents of pro-Kremlin separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine has been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting condemnation from Ukraine's President-elect.

Swedbank’s profit in Q1 up EUR 29 million in spite of scandals

Swedbank’s profit in Q1 2019, compared to the same period of 2018, has grown to reach EUR 29 million. The reason for this was increased economic activity by the bank’s clients and therefore bigger income for the bank, as reported by the bank’s representative Jānis Krops.

New Estonian government appointed to office by Kaljulaid

The new Estonian government under Prime Minister Jüri Ratas from the Centre Party has been appointed into office by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.

Riga City Council hasn’t a clue how to prove safety of Deglava overpass

Riga City Council’s Transport Department has not been informed as to what documents regarding the safety of Deglava overpass are requested by State Construction Control Bureau, said the head of the department Emīls Jakrins during an extraordinary meeting of the Transport Affairs Committee.

Scotland seeking second referendum on independence from Britain

In order to determine Scotland's future after Brexit, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has voiced plans to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 if the country is pulled out of the European Union.

CC: Riga’s public transport company directed the nano-water procurement

Riga municipality’s public transport company SIA Rīgas satiksme was the director of the nano-water procurement, said head of the Competition Council Skaidrīte Ābrama during a press-conference.

Saeima paves way for full opening of «KGB bag»

On Wednesday, 24 April, Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee deputies supported in the first reading amendments to the KBG Law. This will provide the full publication of all KGB documents stored in Latvia’s National Archive, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Normunds Staņēvičs becomes head of Food Union in Europe

As of mid-April of this year, Normunds Staņēvičs, the European CFO of international dairy product and ice-cream group Food Union and CEO of JSC Rīgas piena kombināts, becomes head of Food Union’s European division.

Newest comments