On May 28, hundreds of foreign parliamentarians will arrive in Riga for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Spring Session. One of the most important topics on the agenda is development of the new NATO strategic concept. Parliamentarians will also discuss military, economic and energy security risks as future NATO issues, reports the Latvian Institute. On June 1, a Plenary Session will take place with key addresses given by the Hon. John Tanner, NATO PA president and U.S. congressman, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, Valdis Dombrovskis, prime minister of Latvia, Gundars Daudze, speaker of the Saeima (parliament), and others. Latvia has prepared a broad and rich program for the guests and their spouses to supplement the business of the assembly. Guests will be able to choose from a variety of excursions to visit different tourism objects in Latvia and to get acquainted with the capital city. The tours will be conducted by knowledgeable experts.
The People’s Party on May 22 voted approval for the creation of a joint political force with Ainars Slesers’ Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way (LPP/LC) and the movement ‘For a Good Latvia,’ reports LETA. The decision was taken at the party’s annual congress almost unanimously, with only two delegates abstaining from the vote. Previous to the vote, party leader Andris Skele stressed that in entering the new political union, the People’s Party would not lose its own identity, name, and would preserve its institutions and sovereignty. The party founder added that politics is based on relations: with party members, with political allies and opponents. Relations within the new political force could be complicated at first, but, according Skele, his party has shed its former loftiness and is ready for cooperation. Slesers’ LPP/LC will decide at the party’s congress on June 5 whether to join the movement ‘For a Good Latvia.’
On May 18, the Finance Ministry informed the government that projects financed by EU Funds have been approved for 55 percent, or 1.8 billion lats (2.5 billion euros) from allocated financing to Latvia. Latvia is among the leaders of the 12 new EU member states in absorption rate, currently ranking 3rd in the amount of repayments of the European Commission, reports the Latvian Institute. The ministry notes that financing available for 2010 in the amount of 417 million lats is not sufficient for implementation of all projects. Consequently, fiscal monitoring and control over timely acquisition of the EU funds and budget financing has been amplified in order to facilitate rapid absorption, thus the possibility to file expenditure declarations and expect repayments from the European Commission faster. At the same time flexibility for line ministries to operate with budget financing and to carry out internal redistribution of resources has been increased.