Latvija in brief - 2009-07-23

  • 2009-07-23
Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins on July 20 met with the Chairman of the Riga City Council, Nils Usakovs, to discuss the coordination of cooperation on foreign policy issues, both in Riga and in twinning relationships with cities elsewhere in the world, reports Latvian news agency LETA. As part of their discussion, Riekstins and Usakovs agreed to seek and delegate a foreign policy advisor for work on the Riga City Council. "The capital of Latvia has a wide scope of activities and therefore we agreed to delegate a foreign policy advisor to the Riga City Council, similarly to foreign policy advisors being appointed to the president, the speaker of the Saeima and the prime minister," Riekstins indicated.

Finance Minister Einars Repse announced that international lenders do not trust Latvia, referring to the talks with the International Monetary Fund. According to Repse, the international donors still do not believe that Latvia "is able to rein in the budget deficit, which is getting worse as the economic situation declines." There is also little confidence that Latvia will be able to reduce the budget deficit in the next few years. As reported by LETA, an IMF technical assistance mission continues its visit to Latvia this week, and it will be clear after the visit is over whether Latvia will receive the next installment of the IMF loan.

It was just a few weeks ago that Andris Piebalgs strongly denied the possibility that he could be nominated for another term as a European commissioner; that seems to now have changed, sources close to the government say, daily newspaper "Diena" reported on July 21. Piebalgs, who is currently the European commissioner for energy, told "Diena" that he is considering continuing as commissioner, and that he will make the final decision by this fall. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who has decided to run for re-election, said that, if re-elected, he would demand the European Union member states nominate strong candidates with impeccable reputations. Barroso said though that if Piebalgs is not nominated, he would like Latvia to nominate a female candidate, so he could achieve better gender balance on the Commission.

State Employment Agency (NVA) data shows that there are 67 unemployed candidates for each job vacancy, says NVA director Baiba Pasevica to news agency LETA.  Summarized information about the employment situation in the country shows that the registered unemployment rate in Latvia at the beginning of this week has reached 11.8 percent 's 131,867 people are unemployed.  In Pasevica's words, if the previous month she could talk about the stabilization of the conditional unemployment rate and a relatively small increase, the last week showed that the unemployment rate has begun to accelerate quickly. In addition, there has been a slight decrease in the number of registered job vacancies 's currently the agency has 1,953 job offers.