RIGA - President Vaira Vike-Freiberga expressed strong disappointment at the Interior Ministry's failure to absorb sufficient funding for implementing the Schengen Treaty. She even went so far as to say that the existing situation was disastrous.
Speaking on the morning news program 900 Sekundes (900 Seconds), the president said that the ability of the Interior Ministry to prepare for introduction of the Schengen Treaty was one of the issues that she monitored carefully.
"The preparations for the Schengen Treaty, with its huge funding that could pass Latvia by, is the focus of attention," she said. "It is simply scandalous and disastrous that the ministry is unable to ensure sufficiently fast progress in this respect.
The president is worried that Latvia "will not be prepared and won't absorb the money" and that the country will have to pay from its own resources. This was a luxury that Latvia could not afford in view of its limited financial possibilities.
According to a report released by EC experts in March, Latvia has seriously fallen behind other new EU member states in meeting the requirements for joining the Schengen Treaty and therefore risks losing funding of more than 56 million lats (80 million euros) allocated by the commission.