RIGA - Popular distrust of state authorities is Latvia's greatest problem and a factor hampering sustainable growth, foreign experts said at a recent conference.
Helen Sutch, an expert in governance and public sector reform, said that since 1995 when she last visited Latvia the issue of public distrust still remained unsolved and there was a widespread belief that a person working in state administration definitely worked for his or her own benefit.
Sutch said the existence of such opinions prevented Latvia from attaining its strategic development goals.
Professor Bruno S. Frey, a leading welfare economist, pointed out the lack of confidence was one of Latvia's main problems at the moment. Communication between citizens and state authorities has been insufficient, he said.
Frey also said people should be involved in decision making more actively and it would be necessary to survey public opinion regularly by holding popular ballots or similar activities.
Sutch said that state authorities had to work more transparently 's indeed, very transparently 's without hiding anything from the public. In fact, the state had to set a new strategic goal: to win public confidence based on the principle of transparency, she said.
In 2007 Latvia began a sustainable growth strategy entitled "Latvia 2030. Your Choice." Experts of various fields under the leadership of Latvian anthropologist Roberts Kilis have analyzed development processes in Latvian society and economy in order to come to the best scenario for national development.