GOOD VIBRATIONS: Tarja Halonen and Valdis Zatlers exchange compliments at the Latvian-Finnish business forum.
RIGA - Creativity and innovation is the field in which Finland is a leader on a global level, and is also an example to Latvia, said President Valdis Zatlers on June 7 at the opening of a Latvian-Finnish business forum in Riga, reports news agency LETA. “Creativity, boldness and innovation - these are the keys to sustainable development. I am sure that this state visit will provide a new impulse to the development of economic relations between our two countries,” the president told the group of businesspeople.
He stressed that Latvia was interested in and open to attracting investment from Finland, and was also positive about the investments made in Latvia up to now. The president also declared to the gathered businesspeople that signs of stabilization had been noted in the Latvian economy, which indicates that the deepest point of the crisis had already passed, it is hoped. “Without a doubt, the support of the Nordic countries was of great significance through this difficult period. And without a doubt, the same can be said of the active work of businesspeople and their investments in the recovery of the economy,” said Zatlers.
Finnish President Tarja Halonen also commented on the active economic relations between the two countries, indicating that despite the current decrease in bilateral trade, it was essential to seek out new ways to increase cooperation. “We now have to think together about how we can increase economic development and trade volumes between our two countries,” stressed Halonen.
The Finnish president indicated that due to its geographical proximity and skilled workforce, Latvia was one of the countries which Finland was interested in cooperation with. “I am sure that we can deepen relations between our countries in both trade and investment,” noted Halonen.
The president of Finland was on a one-and-a-half-day state visit to Latvia this week, accompanied on her visit by a delegation of Finnish businesspeople.
Halonen, after a bilateral meeting with Zatlers, said that the crisis has not tarnished the reputation of Latvia. She added that she believes that the worst is behind Latvia. The reputation of Latvia has not been tarnished as Latvia has been acting very responsibly, she said, adding though that Latvia will have to continue work along the same path.
Zatlers said in turn, “In a few years, Latvia could become a success story of how to run a country in hard and critical conditions.”
The mood was cheerful at the presidential press conference after their meeting. Halonen even said that she had reminded her husband before arriving in Latvia that this would be an official visit, and therefore they would have to behave themselves more officially than usual.
Both presidents said that the relations between Latvia and Finland were excellent, and that both the Finns and the Latvians were members of the Baltic Sea family of nations.
At the press conference, Finnish journalists asked Zatlers to comment on the possibility of the introduction of a progressive tax in Latvia, and what the crisis-hit Greece could learn from Latvia. Zatlers said that he supported a progressive tax on property, to which Halonen remarked that Latvia might be interested in finding out more about the tax system in Scandinavia.
As for Greece, Zatlers praised the discipline of the Latvian government in running the country in times of a crisis. Halonen stressed that Greece should have provided the European Union with precise data on its economy, agreeing though that the Greeks indeed required aid.