bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 16.10.2019 | Name days: Daiga, Dinija
LatviaLatvia

Straujuma: the world sees us as an economically powerful country

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUŠarlote Šulca for BNN

Membership in OECD will enhance Latvia’s recognition. Membership in OECD will also benefit the country’s governance system, economy, credibility and banking system. The world sees us as an economically powerful country, former Prime Minister of Latvia Laimdota Straujuma told BNN in an interview.

You had once said that ‘it is improbable that Russia could attack Latvia’. How would you describe Latvia’s relations with Russia now?

The situation in Ukraine is the main stumbling stone for Latvia and many other European countries in relations with Russia. We all know that. As long as there is no notable progress in the realization of Minsk treaty between Russia and Ukraine, economic progress in relation to Russia is not possible. It is unfortunate, because we would all like to see peace returned to Ukraine so that the country can develop, but as long as it does not happen, I find it hard to believe that the EU could lift sanctions against Russia. As long as these sanctions remain in place, our economic cooperation in industries under sanctions will remain in a state of non-function. Export of goods to Russia has been on hold since 2014. Our food production industries are looking for new markets. I am certain this situation benefits neither us, nor Russia. I have said multiple times that we cannot afford to close our eyes and look the other way while some country occupies another country’s territory. It is sad that such things happen.

Can Latvia be affected by Ukraine’s scenario?

I cannot and don’t want to imagine what Russia could have done had we not joined the European Union and NATO in 2004. Twelve years have passed since then. Membership in powerful organizations is very important because an attack on Baltic States would mean an attack on NATO. My opinion has not changed since the time I was Latvia’s prime minister. It has been proven on multiple levels that Article 5 of the NATO treaty – if one country is attacked, it is considered an attack on NATO. I am truly happy that we were so clever in 2004. Joining the EU and NATO was not a matter resolved in a single year, of course. We had started to prepare for it four years before joining those organizations. There are remaining conflicts in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine… Once such conflicts become heated – the situation in the country becomes very complicated. I have begun preparing for the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw. One of the topics that will be discussed there will cover the topic of enhancing the cooperation and security of European countries.

Is there any other international organization Latvia plans to start cooperation talks in the near future?

There is no other state-level organization we can join. The main three goals – membership in EU, NATO and OECD – have already been achieved. Latvia’s safety and development is guaranteed and is being continuously improved. We are now members of the club that unites 34 of the world’s most economically developed countries. Now we have to continue work on the inside.

Committees of OECD have recommended Latvia to continue improving two main areas: corruption combating and corporate management.

How does Latvia follow this recommendation? What has been accomplished up until now and is planned to be accomplished this year?

Legislative changes have been added at the beginning of the year to enhance measures employed by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau to ensure corporate management monitoring. The most sensitive matter is tied to corporate councils in Latvia’s state companies that were dismissed because they were not fulfilling their roles – they were not professional, economic councils, but rather politically driven groups with no regard to interests of the public. It is currently very complicated to restore councils in state businesses. The decision has been made and legislative changes have been accepted – councils will be formed in 2016. Personnel selection processes have been launched in multiple industries, including Latvian State Forests, Latvian Railway and other important companies. State capital associations require large corporate councils. Those will be formed this year. I see no reason why we could fail at that or not enhance corporate management.

In regards to corruption – the law has been adopted, but we still need to improve work on the inside of KNAB – lasting personal conflicts do not contribute to corruption prevention measures. We have changed our country’s legislation and the banking sector’s money turnover control with help from the Finance and Capital Market Commission. FCMC changed its manager this year, multiple legislative acts were accepted, control over bank stability and money transactions was also improved. It was necessary not only for Latvia’s membership in OECD, but also for ourselves. I personally support Latvia’s joining of OECD.

What is OECD and how will joining this organization benefit Latvia?

OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The mission of OECD is to promote respect and compliance with principles of democracy and market economy – this means assistance of development of national economies of member states. OECD unites 34 of the world’s most economically powerful countries. Just joining this organization is already a positive development for Latvia. OECD will increase Latvia’s recognition in the world and enhance the state governance, economy, credibility and banking system. The world is beginning to notice Latvia as an economically powerful country.

How does Latvia progress with OECD membership talks? What are the main points of emphasis?

I received a piece of good news last week – all committees have provided positive reports about Latvia’s joining of OECD. The final political decision will likely come in June. Progress has been different for different topics – improvement and development of the national economy, legislative section, corruption prevention measures and other aspects of state governance.

If the final decision is expected only in June, is there a possibility that joining OECD could be put off to a later date?

Evaluation provided by committees was positive. Reports will be followed by technical actions to approve the political decision, which will be voted on by all three 34 member states. I see no reasons why a positive decision may not be made in relation to Latvia’s joining of OECD.

What about the progress of our neighbour countries – Estonia and Lithuania – with joining OECD?

They’re doing well. Estonia was the first of Baltic States that became an OECD member state. We will be next, followed by Lithuania. Lithuania had launched membership talks last year. We did that in 2013.

How will statistical analysis be carried out to analyse the situation in Latvia? How will this data help improve the situation?

Data processing will be carried out by specialist in Latvia. They will process acquired statistical information. The central OECD central office is located in Paris. High-rank analysts, economists and specialists of other industries work there. Important information about all member states is stored in Paris. This also helps experts to compare developing tendencies within OECD.

With continuing unrest in the world, terrorism is becoming more and more of a threat, especially in Europe. How does Latvia contribute to anti-terrorism activities? What measures are employed by authorities in Latvia?

I can confirm that our security institutions closely follow all developments in the world. Personally, I trust our security institutions. At the same time, no one can guarantee anything. Latvia is not located in the middle of the main inflow of migrants. The terrorist threat level in Latvia, according to security institutions, is low.


Leave a reply

Probing infections in Latvia, salmonella found in meat from Poland

As infection outbreaks in Latvia are under investigation, laboratory tests showed salmonella bacteria in Polish-origin poultry samples taken from SIA Gaļsaimnieks.

Germany to allow Huawei equipment on 5G networks

The Chinese tech giant Huawei will not be banned from the 5G mobile networks in Germany as Berlin stated it wants to create «a level playing field» for vendors.

OECD: Bribery prevention results in Latvia disproportionate to cross-border risks

Latvia’s results in fighting bribery are still disproportionate with the risks of cross-border bribery and money laundering the country is subjected to, says the Working Group on Bribery of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In pictures: Ukrainian President Zelenskiy in Latvia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian first lady made an official visit to Latvia on Wednesday, October 16.

airBaltic not planning to cancel flights with Airbus A220

airBaltic does not plan to reduce its flights with the Airbus A220-300 plane, after Swiss International Air Lines decided to do this being concerned over the aircraft’s engine problems, according to a statement of the Latvian airline on social media.

PM Kariņš recommends spending confiscated EUR 29 mln as single investment

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has recommended the 29 million euros confiscated by the Riga Regional Court for being criminally-acquired to be spent on a one-off investment, according to an interview to LNT programme 900 sekundes.

Latvian security service develops terrorism financing prevention strategy

The Latvian State Security Service (VDD) has prepared its Strategy for the Prevention of Terrorism Financing 2019-2021 with its goal being improvements of the system of preventing such financing, developing Latvia’s abilities to fight such illegal attempts and to improve the country’s reputation in foreign financial markets.

Estonian President sends invitation to Russian President

Estonian head of state Kersti Kaljulaid has invited her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit the Baltic country during a gathering of Finno-Ugric peoples in 2020.

Riga transport company needs additional 2.9 million euros

Rīgas satiksme, the transport company of the Latvian capital, will request from the municipal budget an additional allocation of 2.9 million euros, said Rīgas satiksme’s council chairman in an interview with Latvijas radio.

Government decides: Latvia will have 39 municipalities

The Latvian government has backed the draft Law on Administrative Territories and Populated Places that sets forth cutting the number of municipalities in Latvia from 119 to 39.

Rail Baltica: In rebuilding of Riga Central Station deadlines and quality are key

In Rail Baltica, the new railway project, the rebuilding of the Riga Central Station is planned, where meeting deadlines and quality are key, said the head of Eiropas dzelzceļa līnijas, the company responsible for the project in Latvia, commenting on how the project could be affected by involved builders ReRe grupa being under the scrutiny of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau and the Competition Council.

Deal or extension? Last day of Brexit talks on before decisive EU summit

The Brexit delegations from London and Brussels are on Wednesday, October 16, spending their last day of talks before a key European Union summit intended either to discuss a potential deal or to decide on an extension of the Brexit process.

Exclusive | Latvian MP: Top justice figures, Bičkovičs and Kalnmeiers, working like this in private sector, would be sacked long ago

The Moneyval report has told us not only that Latvia is unable to deal with financial crimes, but also that long court cases are under scrutiny. It is about the scale of money laundering – branding us a major power of money laundering. The expert committee also has questions: where are the guilty ones and where are the sentencing rulings? «The same Lembergs’ case; believe me, Moneyval is observing carefully, how it’s going forward,» MP Gatis Eglītis (NCP), the head of the Financial Sector Supervision Committee of Saeima Budget and Finance (Taxation), said in an interview with the BNN.

Latvian medical workers to hold unprecedented protests against funding cuts

Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers has decided to hold protests it calls unprecedented against state budget plans that would result in reduced funding for health care, according to the LVSADA Council.

History repeating: Lemberg’s-linked medium recalls false news about Meroni

Once again, a medium linked to the criminally-accused Latvian politician Aivars Lembergs has been forced to admit its lies and to recall its unfounded claims directed at lawyer Rudolf Meroni. This time the recall has been published by Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze daily.

Unity: Riga City Council tries to retain structure of Riga.lv despite liquidation

In the Riga City Council, opposition Unity faction fears a near-million increase of the municipality’s Public Relations Division could be coming in city budget effectively to transfer the structure of Riga.lv, the foundation up for liquidation.

Latvian minister: System wants its people as Prosecutor General, top court chairman

«There is information that the system prepares its heirs and wishes to appoint people close to it,» discussing reforms in the Latvian justice system, including the changing of the chairman of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General, has said the Latvian Justice Minister speaking to Latvijas Televīzija programme Rīta Panorāma.

Latvian coalition reaches deal to support changed administrative reform

Latvian government parties have agreed to support the country’s major administrative and territorial reform expanding the initial plan of cutting the number of municipalities in Latvia from 119 to 36.

Spain’s conviction of Catalan separatists sparks mass protests and clashes

The imprisonment of Catalan politicians and activists has sparked mass protests in the Spanish autonomous region leading to violent clashes with police and disruption of civil aviation. A total of 108 flights were cancelled on Monday

U.S. imposes sanctions on Turkey over incursion in Syria

U.S. President Donald Trump has stated he has issued an executive order to impose sanctions on Turkey’s officials and customs tariffs on steel imports from the country, which is continuing its military attack on Syria.

On safe side: Estonian tech minister changes Huawei to iPhone

Estonian Foreign Trade and Information Technology Minister, Kert Kingo, has changed her Huawei smartphone after criticism about alleged security issues with the device of the Chinese brand.

Ukraine's Zelensky to visit Latvia this week

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will make a state visit to Latvia this week, the Chancery of the Latvian President informed.

Orbán’s party defeated in Budapest election

In the Hungarian municipal election, a rare win has been reached by opposition parties as they joined forces and overcame Budapest mayor István Tarlós from the ruling Fidesz party, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Latvian city trio could retain special status after reform, minister says

As the massive Latvian administrative reform is to be discussed in government, its advocate, the Regional Development Minister, has suggested Liepāja, Rēzekne and Daugavpils could retain their special status thus increasing the number of prospective municipalities to 39.

Latvian budget to receive 20 million euros ruled to be criminally acquired

The Riga Regional Court has ruled that arrested 29 million euros have been acquired illegally and that they have to be transferred from a bank to the Latvian state budget, announced the Latvian Office of the Prosecutor General.

Most read

Most commented