RIGA - Every crisis offers an opportunity for the country to change, learn and improve something, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said while addressing an extraordinary Saeima meeting on Monday.
Saeima meeting today has been convened to begin review of the draft 2022 state budget law and the accompanying bills.
According to Karins, the last 30 years in the history of Latvia can be divided into four stages - the first was the restoration of independence, followed by the privatization stage, then the stage of reintegration, and the current stage of smart reindustrialization.
The most important thing after the restoration of independence was to rebuild independence, establish a democratic state administration and withdraw the Russian armed forces by 1994, said Karins. Then came the next, privatization stage. It was important to denationalize property and create private capital. However, not everything went as it should and oligarchs emerged in the country, who often participated in the country's political life.
The reintegration stage followed, during which Latvia joined various international organizations, integrating itself in the political environment of Western Europe, said Karins.
The current stage of smart reindustrialization is meant to reach the next level of prosperity in Latvia, the prime minister said.
As the country went through these stages of development, there were different crises, such as the "Russian crisis", the world economic crisis and the Covid-19 crisis, and there will be more crises. Right now, Latvia has to deal with three crises at the same time - the Covid-19 crisis, the Belarusian border crisis and the energy crisis. However, every such crisis is an opportunity for the country to change, learn and improve something, Karins emphasized.
The government continues to invest in the healthcare system to overcome the Covid-19 crisis. "Money alone will not improve the system, but it will make it easier to provide better services to our citizens," the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, the crisis at the Latvian-Belarusian border demonstrates that we live in an environment rife with challenges. "Our neighbor, Belarus, has taken an aggressive stance on the European Union, the Baltic countries and Latvia. This has prompted the EU to look at its overall security situation and how we can improve it," the prime minister emphasized.
In turn, the energy crisis has shown that the entire EU is heavily dependent on natural gas. Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas, which supplies more than 40 percent of gas in the EU. In Karins' opinion, this addiction must be stopped, and Latvia has long understood this.
We need to further develop renewable energy sources and encourage investment in electricity generation. It is also necessary to overcome several municipalities' resistance against onshore wind farms, as well as to reduce dependence on energy sources, said Karins.