RIGA - By lowering taxes and excise duty on fuel, Latvia would reduce its ability to strengthen its defense capacity, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told reporters after a meeting with President Egils Levits on Wednesday.
People should remember that most of the fuel sold in Latvia comes directly or indirectly from Russia, said Karins. If taxes and excise duty on fuel are reduced, that would mean continuing to give Russia money so that it could keep manufacturing tanks and continue the war in Ukraine.
According to Karins, cutting state revenues needed to strengthen defense is not right. Instead, part of the revenues should be channeled through targeted subsidies to those social groups whose circumstances become more pressing as prices keep rising.
"We need to help those people who do not have jobs with wages growing faster than inflation. These groups have been identified. We are working to get people the benefits they need. It is clear that we need to help them, but we should not shoot ourselves in the foot by taking away the money we need for defense," the premier said.
In turn, Levits emphasized that national security was of paramount importance and that it was financed from different sources - first of all, from taxes. He also agreed with the prime minister that targeted assistance was necessary for those who need it most.
"The Latvian nation supports Ukraine. Of course, we all are paying for it. We have to be aware of that. We pay for our security, we pay for solidarity with Ukraine. In any case, we will help those who are in the most difficult situation," said Levits.