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Political carousel. Survey of Latvian political parties aiming for EP elections

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Although Latvia will have eight seats in the European Parliament, there are 249 candidates from 16 political parties. If you have yet to make a choice who is worthy of representing Latvia and the country’s interests it is worth looking into party leaders told BNN news portal in regards to their political priorities.

BNN contacted leaders of 15 political parties, asking them about Latvia’s most important goals in the context of the European Union, which include the main areas in which Europe should assist with funding, the necessary solutions and what needs changing in the European Parliament. They were also asked about the candidates they would rather not see in the parliament.

BNN made repeated attempts to contact Harmony political party’s representatives, but no response was given in the end. This is why this party’s opinion is not included in the survey.

Tatyana Zhdanok

«We want to provide non-residents the right to participate in European Parliament elections.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Latvian Russians Union Tatyana Zhdanok

Party: Latvian Russians Union

Education: Doctor of Mathematics

Language skills: Latvian, English, French – fluent; German – good

Position: Chairperson of Latvian Russians Union

«Non-citizens remain discriminated. For example, if the National Alliance calls Russians all kinds of names, no one bats an eye. But if Zhdanok makes a comparison, that Russians are treated like Jews were prior to WWII, it is reported to the State Security Service. I believe non-citizens should be allowed to participate in European Parliament elections. We also want to ensure subsistence minimum is set equal to 60% of the average wage in the country.»

Priorities in the European Parliament

Education

Social field

Non-citizens matter

No Room in the European Parliament:

«Let voters decide on their own.»

Andris Rubins

«We want all EU member states to have equal benefits, pensions and minimal wage.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Andris Rubins

Party: Latvian Nationalists

Education: Doctor of Medical Science in dermatovenerology

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – conversation level

Position: Professor at the University of Latvia

«From the very beginning Poland and Finland have had twice as large payments from the EU than Latvia per capita. Everyone should be given equal payments. We want Europe to resolve financial problems and form Europe as a family of nations in which all peoples, including ethnic minorities, are free and equal.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Education

Medicine

Social security

No room in the European Parliament:

«Not a single party that currently represents the Saeima should be allowed in the EP if we want to change something.»

Edvards Smiltēns

«We shouldn’t try duplicating NATO»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Edvards Smiltens

Party: Latvian Association of Regions

Education: Master’s degree in Law

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – fluent

Position: Chairman of Latvian Association of Regions

«We shouldn’t duplicate NATO, but we also believe it is necessary to work towards formation of unified EU border guard. This way we will kill two birds with one stone: i.e. having border guards of different member states protecting our borders in rotational order. This would help reduce smuggling.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

EP budget – securing fair direct payment

Increasing EU security

Education funds

No room in the European Parliament:

«I don’t want to see Tatyana Zhdanok, Andrejs Mamikins, who openly lobby Kremlin’s interests. The same applies to Nils Ušakovs, who, it seems, is trying to get away from criminal charges, hoping for immunity. Saeima deputy from New Conservative Party Gatis Eglītis is also an undesirable candidate, because he has not proven himself in action here in Latvia.»

Dana Reizniece-Ozola

«It is important for Europe to have developed centres and regions.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Dana Reizniece-Ozola

Party: Union of Greens and Farmers

Education: Master’s degree in business management, translation and terminology

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – fluent; German – basic

Position: Saeima deputy

«One major pre-condition for regional development is sufficient funding for agriculture and cohesion. This is one of our primary objectives in the EP – reaching an agreement on the multi-year budget, whose current offer is not beneficial for Latvia: farmers will get a slight bonus and lose 13% for cohesion. We need more support for farmers to improve regional development.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Creating Europe’s education space

Developing critical thinking and media literacy

Implementing EU motto ‘United in diversity’

No room in the European Parliament:

«Politicians who are loyal neither to EU or Latvia’s values and who secretly or openly represent Russia’s interests in the European Parliament.»

Kaspars Ģirģens

«We need to ensure better control over European funds»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Kaspars Ģirģens

Party: KPV LV

Education: Master’s degree in business and organization management

Languages: Latvian – native language; English – fluent

Position: Saeima deputy

«Personally I find the topic of proper monitoring of the use of EU funding very important. Budget development process should serve Latvia’s interests – regarding agriculture and reduction of inequality.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

EU budget

Disinformation and cyber security

Reduction of inequality in regions

No room in the European Parliament:

«Residents will decide this, not me. One of the most important questions – how much do Latvian Russians Union and Harmony represent Latvia’s interests? But let’s allow residents decide this.»

Gunta Anča

«I view the European Parliament as a place that can help change the situation in Latvia and Europe.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Gunta Anča

Party: Progressive party

Education: Master’s degree in business management

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – fluent; German – good; Swedish – basic

Position: SUSTENTO board chairperson

«Unfortunately, Latvia has not been able to deal with several problems as of late. This is why Europe has had to step in with surgical corrections to liven up discussions and decision-making processes. This includes the subsistence minimum topic.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Fewer poor people in Latvia

Equality between men and women

Employment opportunities in the EU

No room in the European Parliament:

«I don’t want to mention names, because I believe the assessment is in the hands of voters. But would recommend looking at our politicians have been up to in the EP lately.»

Jānis Kuzins

«I stand in favour of Europe’s movement towards a federal country with its own army.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Jānis Kuzins

Party: New Harmony

Education: Master’s degree in public relations

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – good

Position: New Harmony’s board chairman

«There are disputes if it is worth for Europe to form an autonomous defence policy and army or to continue working as before. Our party sees progress in moving towards a federal Europe, in which the EU forms its own foreign policy that is autonomous and independent of NATO and other partners. This would allow it funding independently like Russia, China and USA.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Support for the unemployed and pensioners

Effective use of cross-border programmes

Autonomous policy in foreign affairs

No room in the European Parliament:

«What is the point of electing a politician who will be handed over to law enforcement institutions after one month of work? There are politicians who change their opinions and move from party to party. I don’t think there is room for Vaidere in the European Parliament, for example.»

Andis Kudors

«Cohesion policy is not sufficiently fair towards Latvia»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Andis Kudors

Party: New Conservative Party

Education: Master’s degree in politology

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – fluent; German – basic

Position: CEO of East European Policy Studies

«It is important for Latvia to ensure economic growth in member states is equalized as quickly as possible. On the one hand there is talk about solidarity and assistance for regions that are behind more developed regions in Europe. On the other hand economically strong EU member states put a lot of emphasis on their own narrow interests. And when discussions reach the topic of practical solutions, people tend to forget about cohesion philosophy – that it is necessary to help [less developed regions] as quickly as possible.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Peace

Welfare, more investments in science and innovations

Preservation of member states’ national identity

No room in the European Parliament:

«The candidates who are likely to work against Latvia’s interests. But Latvian citizens will decide. Tatyana Zhdanok has actively opposed Latvia’s independence restored in the 90s of the last century.»

Ivars Ijabs

«To prevent Latvia’s envelope from shrinking»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Ivars Ijabs

Party: Attistībai/Par!

Education: Doctor of Political Science

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – fluent; German – fluent

Position: Associated professor at University of Latvia and director of Political Science Bachelor programme

«European Parliament’s biggest decision will be the next multi-year budget for 2021-2027. What we plan to focus on is making sure Latvia’s envelope does not shrink, as well as making sure Latvian emerging companies and scientists are provided with access to EU funds supporting science and innovations. I believe this is the topic that has remained largely ignored by our predecessors in recent years.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Human capital, especially youngsters, preservation in Latvia

Home security

Strengthening the EU

No room in the European Parliament:

«As a citizen, it is painful for me to see Latvia being represented in the EP by people whose political career started with the fight against Latvia’s independence. I believe this is rather humiliating.»

Nils Ušakovs

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Nils Ušakovs

Party: Harmony

Education: Master’s degree in economics

Language skills: Latvian, English – fluent

Position: suspended Chairman of Riga City Council

After multiple attempts to contact Harmony representatives, BNN could not get any comments from the party. It is only worth mentioning that Ušakovs announced his candidacy for a seat in the European Parliament after receiving accusations of corruption. He is currently suspended from his duties as chairman of Riga City Council.

Dace Melbārde

«Supporting the network higher education and science excellence centres.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Einārs Graudiņš

Party: National Alliance ‘All for Latvia – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’

Education: Master’s degree in Public Management and Cultural Theory, Administration and History

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – very good; French and German – basic

Position: Culture Minister of Latvia

«Forming Europe’s education space that is able to prepare more job creators and innovators and provide everyone life-long quality education, freedom to develop talents, knowledge and skills in the 21st century. It is important to defend higher education and science excellence centres that offer equal opportunities for research and development in all EU member states and Latvia, especially in smart areas – bio-medicine, bio-technologies, bio-economy, biological agriculture, ICT and creative industries.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Creating Europe’s education space

Developing critical thinking and media literacy

Implementing EU motto ‘United in diversity’

No room in the European Parliament:

«Politicians who are loyal neither to EU or Latvia’s values and who secretly or openly represent Russia’s interests in the European Parliament.»

Einārs Graudiņš

«Future development is not possible without reforming EU government model.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Einārs Graudiņš

Party: Action Party

Education: Master’s degree in economics

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English – fluent

Position: Pensioner

«With the way the EU is governed nowadays it may exist for a maximum of 10-15 years. This is why EU’s government model needs changing to create a single federal country called European Union. The situation needs re-analysing to determine where we are and how we should move forward. And because Latvia is located on Europe’s external border, Schengen Zone’s external border, we can talk with Brussels very seriously. And we can expect serious attitude in this topic.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

EU as a federal country

Unified budget in all of the EU

Unified education system in all of the EU

No room in the European Parliament:

«The new parliament will have no room for Ušakovs and Ameriks, as well as everyone else who sits in the EP now.»

Inguna Sudraba

«We have to cater to Latvia’s interests to ensure it is not viewed as a colonial country.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Inguna Sudraba

Party: Atmoda

Education: Master’s degree in economics

Position: Board chairman of For Latvia from the Heart

«The main thing that needs changing is the understanding of how the European Parliament makes decisions. It is also important to stand in favour of improving people’s quality of life. Our MEPs should also work to ensure better protection of Latvia’s interests. We have to change the way people think about Latvia – that it is not a colonial country that supplies cheap labour to other countries.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Oppose Europe’s federalization

Preserve the identity of the Latvian nation

Liquidate economic inequality in the EU

No room in the European Parliament:

«The MEPs that worked in multiple EP ‘seasons’ and did not protect Latvia’s interests all that much.»

Normunds Grostiņš

«We need to change European Parliament’s architecture»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Normunds Grostiņš

Party: Latvian Centre Party

Education: Diploma in History

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English and German – fluent; French and Swedish – basic

Position: Board chairman of Latvia’s Future Studies Institute

«We need to change the architecture of European Parliament’s work, because for years the parliament has made decisions in two largest groups or factions. These two are European People’s Party and Social Democrats Party – like Unity and Harmony. Latvia’s Future Institute, of which I am in charge of, has studied votes of these two parties. They coincide 94% in the European Parliament, and it influences 80% of laws approved in Latvia. The quality of legislation is very poor. We believe it is necessary to form a new, third major group to change the structure of power.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Increasing Latvia’s funding, equalizing it at least with Poland’s average level

Reducing security risks coming from southern borders

Changing the structure of EP’s work

No room in the European Parliament:

«I am very negative towards people who have compromised themselves in Latvia politics and now want to enter the European Parliament. I would rather not see Ušakovs, Ameriks and all other current MEPs, because their work results are catastrophic.»

Jānis Dinēvičs

«Equalising payments provided to Latvia’s farmers.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Jānis Dinēvičs

Party: Latvian Social Democratic Workers’ Party

Education: Diploma in electrical engeneering

Language skills: Latvian – native language; German – good speaking level

Position: Board chairman of SIA Atjaunojamo energoresursu un viedo tīklu tehnoloģiskais parks

«The first and foremost task at hand is equalizing payments between Latvia’s farmers and EUs ‘old member states’, such as France and Germany. This inequality is sufficiently recognized in Europe. Unfortunately, no one wants to act to reduce this inequality.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

In favour of national, not federal state

Reduction of inequality in healthcare and education

Wider social-democratic values

No room in the European Parliament:

«There are 16 parties. Voters will demonstrate with their vote who should and who should not enter the European Parliament.»

Sandra Kalniete

«With development of artificial intelligence, I believe cyber security will become the dominant problem in our world.»

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Sandra Kalniete

Party: New Unity

Education: Diploma in Art Science

Language skills: Latvian – native language; English and French – fluent

Position: Member of the European Parliament

«European Union and USA have to work very hard to make the digital environment strictly regulated. We have to ensure internet giants are unable to use personal data for profit and brainwashing people.»

Priorities in the European Parliament:

Preserving maximum cohesion funding

Funding for science

Security

No room in the European Parliament:

«Latvia should be represented by people who are very loyal to Latvia and work in the interest of Latvia’s people. Deputies elected from Harmony and Latvian Russians Union definitely work towards compromising Latvia.»

To vote in EP elections citizens have to bring their passport or eID card. Additionally, this time around voter certificate will not be needed for citizens who only have eID card as their personal identification document.

Election sites will be open on Election Day from 7:00 to 20:00.

Early election opportunity will be open for all citizens in Latvia at any election site regardless of their place of residence on 22nd, 23rd and 24th May.


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