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Sunday 18.08.2019 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
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President: Latvianness is intended for everyone

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Latvia’s President Egils Levits

Latvianness is intended for everyone, said Latvia’s President Egils Levits in an interview to public broadcaster LNT programme 900 seconds in regards to ways of reducing societal split.

The president admits there is a split in Latvia’s society, but it needs to be overcome – Latvianness is open and anyone is able to participate in culture and historical interpretation, speak Latvian and preserve their own identity.

Levits also said that economic inequality in Latvia «is not a sudden occurrence» – it is a result of a lasting economic and political stance. While in the past focus was put on movement of free capital, now it is necessary to pay more attention to social economy and outline social matters. The president does not exclude the possibility of reviewing taxes again.

After discussing the so-called «excise tax war» with Estonia, Levits described the whole affair promotional and said the situation should be resolved by Baltic finance ministers. This includes Lithuania because Latvia’s southern neighbour had an excise tax difference between them.

As for financial affairs, Levits stressed that it is necessary to increase state funding for political parties – looking at the budget in perspective, increase of state support would result in «insignificant increase» for parties.

He stressed that if Estonia and Lithuania are able to sufficiently support their political parties, why can’t Latvia do the same?  The president also said donations to parties are often not led by altruism. Parties’ dependence on them represents a risk for democracy.

When asked why other countries often succeed where Latvia fails and why the country cannot seem to reach its potential, Levits said grey economy is the most common reason. He said Latvia is a country with the highest grey economy index in the EU, adding that this situation can be fixed with effective legislative solutions. The president invited the government and Saeima factions to start working on this problem.

Levtis said he does not want to be like any of his predecessors – every previous Latvian president was unique and neither did they try to be like someone else. Since Jānis Čakste, who founded the state president’s institution in Latvia, every president worked in line with the borders he had put in place, at the same time providing their own contribution, explained Levits.

Levits described his first week as president a good one. He has not yet moved in to Jurmala residence, but he did get a chance to have a good look at it last week.

Levits also said his team is being compiled. He allowed that something may be reviewed around autumn.


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  1. Justs says:

    It begins. Today, “Latvianness is for everyone.” Tomorrow, “Welcome these new Latvians from Africa you racists!” Worst mistake Latvia ever made was allowing this foreigner to take charge.

    • Viesturs says:

      The flip side would be declaring that Latvianness is reserved for Latvians only (including the Latvian language since that is one of the key pillars of Latviannness). And, voilá, we get more than 600,000 alienated people among our midst open to vote for Zhdanokites and other nutjobs, and, a country that’s, ironically enough, even less Latvian than before. No thanks, I think I’ll stick with Levits on this one.

      • Anonymous says:

        You will regret not being happy with the Russians when it’s 600,000 Africans in Riga.

      • Justs says:

        Typical Latvian potato brain, “we have problems with foreigners, better make a different kind of foreigner president to show how inclusive our society is.”

    • Marks says:

      @Justs

      “This foreigner” was born in Latvia in a long line of Latvian ancestry, is married to a Latvian woman, was expelled from the Latvian SSR in 1972, was back in Latvia in 1989(!), has lived in Latvia for three quarters of his life, was a member of the council of the Latvian People’s Front, co-authored the 1990 redeclaration of independence..

      Are you perhaps a little – only a little- prejudiced against the Latvian president who on top of Latvian also happens to be jewish?

      P.S. Let’s hope the time will come those very few black people holding the Latvian nationality will self-identfy as Latvians and all other Latvians will recognise them as Latvians too.

      • Anonymous says:

        He’s a German-Israeli E.U. “world citizen” and no more Latvian than Donald John Trump is. Anyone who believes this guy is Latvian or cares about Latvia is a fool. What history does he have of sticking around in Latvia when times are tough? He only came back TO BE PRESIDENT of the entire country, otherwise he’d never set foot in Latvia.

  2. Justs says:

    Georgia, Ukraine, Latvia – surrounding Russia with hostile puppet governments run by foreign Israeli citizens. Just noticing a trend here, and I know that noticing trends is illegal in the West and all…

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