Kalvitis irked by Schengen preparations

  • 2005-12-14
  • By Baltic News Service
RIGA - Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said that the current situation with absorbing funding for the Schengen Treaty was unsatisfactory, telling the press that implementation of the treaty had been seriously delayed.

Agreements covering only 3 percent of the total financing available, he pointed out, had been signed. Worse, so far Latvia has spent less than 1 percent of its total funding available for Schengen projects, and the procurement procedure is still open for 27 projects.

Kalvitis said that the situation was unsatisfactory since Latvia has had sufficient time to absorb the funds, but failed to do so for various political reasons, among others. In particular, he blamed interior ministers, starting from Maris Gulbis, who made decisions about a new complex for the Schengen information system, and Eriks Jekabsons, who resigned recently.

The prime minister said that all new European Union member states experienced difficulties absorbing Schengen Treaty funds and had asked the European Commission to extend the absorption deadline.

Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars informed the Cabinet that additional financing from the state budget would be necessary for completing the projects, even if Latvia had problems with absorbing the allocated funding.