Queen Beatrix asks tough questions about Latvia's social problems

  • 2006-05-23
  • By TBT staff

REGAL PRESENCE: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands discussed Latvia's social problems during her visit to the country on May 23.

The Dutch Queen Beatrix arrived in Latvia on May 22 on a state visit, during which she has asked some pressing questions on Latvia's troubling social issues.

At the University of Latvia on May 23, the queen heard a report on the country's implementation of the National Development Plan. While the country, she said, had taken steps to join the EU and NATO, she asked if any major studies influenced political decisions on social issues.

"Do you feel that politicians take it into account when taking practical steps?" the Queen asked at the university.
The queen asked if steps were being taken to close the gap wealth gap between Riga and the surrounding regions of Latvia, whether the country was working with Estonia and Lithuania to solve its problems, and the progress of small and medium sized enterprises.

Queen Beatrix also asked if young Latvians were interested in careers that would not just better their own lives but that of the country as well.

"Are minorities fully involved in the life of the state, or maybe they have excluded themselves or are left outside?" she asked.
At the university, the queen also joined President Vaira Vike-Freiberga in a presentation on a book on the history of Dutch-Latvian relations.

According to BNS, Dutch Ambassador to Latvia Robert Schudeboom said the relations had "been much richer and more varied than is generally known" and "more research is needed to explore the yet unexplored."

"There have been centuries when the Dutch influence in this part of the world was substantial and came closely after that of Sweden, Germany and Russia," he said.