RIGA - Latvia must not fall further behind Lithuania and Estonia by 2030, President Egils Levits said on Wednesday at the conference "Latvia's State Strategy and Socio-Political Consensus", organized by Economists' Association in cooperation with the President's Chancery.
Parties forming the new government must find a common denominator on how they will work in the next eight years, emphasized Levits. They have to agree on the government declaration even before the new government is approved, he said.
This coming winter and the coming years will be full of geopolitical challenges posed by Russia's war in Ukraine. The global economy will slow down, Latvia will also slip into a moderate recession next year, said the president.
"Latvia has always been lagging behind its Baltic neighbors and the gap has been growing larger every year. Judging by several indicators, Latvia is firmly antepenultimate in the European Union, while Lithuania and Estonia have rapidly improved their positions," said Levits.
He pointed out that Latvia had done very little to increase its energy independence in recent years. Likewise, little has been done in the development of human resources, research and science.
At the same time, a lot has been done in recent months to strengthen energy independence in order to give up Russian gas. There is still much to be done to promote use of renewable energy, and Latvia also needs a liquefied gas terminal, said Levits.
The next government is expected to present a new concept of energy development, Levits pointed out and added that the next government must have a minister responsible for energy issues.
"Latvia also needs to review the model of its economy, how we will develop and finance the economy. We will have to get involved in the European Green Deal, which must be adapted to Latvia's specific requirements, taking into account that the funds of the Recovery Facility will become available in the near future," emphasized Levits.
Latvia must also invest in people, their skills, technology. Such investments should be a priority in Latvia's investment policy, said Levits.