• 2004-05-20
To date, 208 projects in Latvia have applied for the European Union structural funds for the rural development and fisheries promotion, said spokeswoman for the rural support service Vineta Jansone.

The highest number of projects - 111 - applied for investment in agriculture companies, 41 projects for transformation of rural territory and promotion of development. Information about the total amount of money the projects are applying for has not been tallied yet.

Accession to the EU will grant Latvian companies access to a large single market but some temporary problems could materialize, analysts from Hansabanka's financial market section said. One of these could be a lack of modernization and compliance to EU norms. Moreover, free access to Latvia's market for EU firms could endanger Latvia's companies, many of which have yet to become competitive. "Generally, knowledge of the expected changes in the external market still is insufficient, and many businesses do not know how they will operate after the accession," said the analysts. While noting that Latvia's advantages are geographic location, educated labor, and flexibility, the analysts said more emphasis in the future should be put on creating added value.

On May 14 Lithuania's Finance Ministry sent off the first five transportation investment projects, worth a totat 149.4 million euros - to the European Commission to obtain financial assistance from the EU's Cohesion Fund. If the projects are approved, the fund will contribute 85 percent of project costs - i.e. 127 million euros. Lithuania will provide funding for the remaining 15 percent under the road maintenance and development program. Lithuania is entitled to receive at least 210 million euros from the Cohesion Fund this year, the ministry said.

On May 17 the European affairs committee in Estonia's Parliament noted that in the future consultations with the European Central Bank must precede the adoption of all domestic monetary policy laws. Under the EU accession treaty and the statutes of the ECB, Estonia must coordinate its financial policy-related draft laws with the bank, spokespeople for the Bank of Estonia said. The chairman of the committee, Rein Lang, said that the ECB cannot veto Estonia's domestic documents, and disputes will be settled through court procedure.

If EU citizens with national health insurance fall ill in Lithuania, local doctors will provide them with medical assistance and will prescribe compensated drugs, the State Patients Fund said in a press release. The state-run fund will pay for the abovementioned services provided to foreigners and take care of recovering the money from EU members. The State Patients Fund has reminded that doctors and pharmacists will have to require identification documents and European health insurance cards or the E-form from patients when prescribing and selling compensated medicines.