bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 26.05.2019 | Name days: Varis, Eduards, Edvards
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

Week in Lithuania: International gang busted, Olympic champion retires, customs block rocket entry

Last week, an armed gang, involved in arms and drugs smuggling, was detained in Lithuania; Lithuania changed anti-money laundering tactics to prevent money laundering; the ruling LFGU offered to drop all ongoing parliamentary investigations of economic crisis.

BNN summary of the week: bumps of EP elections; LDz mystical expenses; OECD’s outlook for Baltics

The past week’s main topic was European Parliament elections. Unfortunately, Latvia’s readiness for digitization of the election process to allow residents to vote from any election site turned out lacking.

«Extremely cumbersome» election process reason for low Latvian turnout abroad, expert says

The low voter turnout of Latvian voters abroad could be due to «an extremely cumbersome» election process outside Latvia – to vote a person had to register about a month earlier, said European Movement – Latvia’s head Andris Gobiņš.

Valmiera reached highest turnout among Latvian cities in EP election by afternoon

As voters in Latvian cities took part in the European Parliament’s elections, the highest turnout by afternoon has been in Valmiera, but the lowest – in the second city Daugavpils, according to the data compiled by the Central Election Commission.

«Latvia could improve turnout of previous elections». EP elections in pictures

The turnout of the 2019 European Parliament’s elections in Latvia has the potential to exceed the turnout of the previous polls five years ago, according to political expert, co-owner of Mediju tilts public relations agency, Filips Rajevskis.

Voter activity in Latvia reaches 27.38% in European Parliament elections

By 16:00 Saturday, 25 May, a total of 386 552 citizens or 27.38% of the population with voting rights in Latvia took part in European Parliament elections, according to data compiled by Central Election Commission.

Latvian State Police commence two administrative cases on political promotion

On Saturday, 25 May, Latvia’s State Police commenced two administrative cases on breach of regulations – publication of political promotional materials during elections. Police found promotional booklets of a political party put on wind shields of parked cars in Ķengarags, Riga.

Residents in Latvia complain to Central Election Commission about election aspects

Although generally speaking European Parliament elections in Latvia have so far been calm and without many incidents, some residents complain about possible political promotion and inability to find their election sites, says Central Election Commission’s head Kristīne Bērziņa.

20.24% of Latvian citizens have voted in EP elections so far

A total of 285 800 Latvian citizens or 20.24% of the total number of voters in the country have participated in European Parliament elections so far.

Riga Tourism Development Bureau gets «new» management

Guntars Grīnvalds, who until now worked as board member, has been approved as the new chairman of Riga Tourism Development Bureau. Ieva Lasmane has been picked as a new board member. Resignations from Maksims Tolstojs and the detailed Vita Jermoloviča have also been accepted.

Statistics: the older a person, the lonelier that person is

17 % of the population aged 75 and over mentioned that during the last month have felt lonely all or most of the time, while such an assessment among younger people aged 25–34 was given ten times less frequently.

Opinion: oligarchs’ wallet won’t work in Latvia’s first open presidential election

The President of the Republic of Latvia may be an opportunity for Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of committing serious crimes, to receive a pardon in case the court finds him guilty in the criminal process that has been continuing for years.

Video: British Prime Minister announces stepping down on June 7

The head of the British government, Theresa May, listened to pressure from her own Conservative Party and announced plant to resign on June 7 without reaching the Brexit compromise she was aiming for.

Justice Minister says Latvia’s government will not exist without his party

Without New Conservative Party, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s government would cease to exist, said the leader of NCP and Latvia’s Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Friday, 24 May.

Estonian electricity grid operator enters deal to join European network

Estonian electricity and gas network operator Elering has signed the agreement to become part of the synchronous electricity network of Continental Europe together with Latvia and Lithuania.

Many EU citizens not allowed to vote in UK

During the European Parliament’s elections in the United Kingdom, many citizens from other European Union member states have been turned away at polling stations.

Baltic railway carriers desire open market for free competition

«Attempts to commence cross-border cooperation with private carriers of neighbouring Baltic States are impeded in order to preserve dependence on services of state railway companies,» said Baltic Express director Māris Bremze after a meeting between heads of Baltic private railway carriers.

Heads of Latvian Railway lose Latvian State Railway Administration’s trust

Latvia’s State Railway Administration has sent a letter to Transport Ministry and Latvian Railways. In it they ask the government to «evaluate behaviour of LDz leading officials – Edvīns Bērziņš and Aivara Strakšas – in writing an application containing false information and thereby organizing a discrediting campaign against State Railway Administration».

Stoltenberg expresses NATO’s full readiness to react to Russian cyberattacks

NATO stood ready to respond to cyber attacks from Russia and other possible adversaries with all its capabilities, the Secretary General of the alliance has stated.

Weather becomes cooler in Latvia; meteorologists promise warmth will return

On Friday, 24 May, an atmospheric front will pass through Latvia, causing cloudy weather, rain and thunderstorms in eastern portions of the country.

Eco Baltia concerned about possible complications in waste management procurement in Riga

Eco Baltia supervisory board has voiced no-confidence to the concern’s environment management company Eco Baltia vide’s board members Māris Simanovičs and Jānis Aizbalts over the decision to found CREB Riga together with public waste management service provider Clean R.

Study: 50.6% of enterprises view Latvia’s business-related legislative environment negatively

Latvia’s business-related legislation is poor to very poor, according to 50.6% of interviewed entrepreneurs. Only 19.2% view legislation as either very good or more or less good, according to Turība University’s Business Index.

Lithuania: Nausėda and Šimonytė set to square off in Sunday’s runoff election

The nail-biter presidential election will produce late Sunday a new host of the presidential palace in Vilnius’ Daukantas square for next five years, but which of two candidates will be there, now only God knows.

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

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.

25% Estonian voters have voted days before European elections

Estonian voters have been active in early and online voting as a total of 25,4% of eligible voters have taken part in the European Parliament’s elections. The election days in the Baltic states are on Saturday or Sunday depending on the country.

Most read

Most commented