Latvija in brief - 2010-10-14

  • 2010-10-13

Economy Minister Artis Kampars on Oct. 8, said that former Transport Minister Ainars Slesers is to blame for the dismal situation with airBaltic, as his “unilateral signing” of the shareholders’ agreement blocks the government’s influence in its own national airline, reports LETA. Previous reports had Transport Ministry State Secretary Nils Freivalds saying that it was he who signed the concluded cooperation agreement with shareholders in March 2009. Kampars rejected criticism that the Dombrovskis government has “re-confirmed” the shareholders’ agreement. Airline President Bertolt Flick refused to permit any other changes, the minister pointed out. As a result, the state has no influence whatsoever in airBaltic operations. He underlined that Slesers and his “unfair [Riga airport service fee] discount policy” are also the reason for the current conflict between airBaltic and the airport.

At the end of September, the registered unemployment rate in Latvia was 14.6 percent, representing a 0.4 percent decrease compared with August, according to information from the State Employment Agency (SEA), reports LETA. At the end of August, the rate stood at 15 percent. At the beginning of September, the SEA counted 169,676 unemployed, while by the end of the month the number had fallen to 165,386 - a decrease of 4,290 people. During the month of September, the SEA found work for 7,144 people. The country’s lowest unemployment rate was registered in the Riga region - 11.6 percent, while the highest rate was in Latgale - 22 percent. In September, 58,567 people took part in employment programs organized by the agency. The SEA database showed 3,395 current job vacancies at the end of September.

The Riga Regional Court ordered the Bank of Latvia to pay the liquidator of the once mighty, now defunct Banka Baltija (BB) 59.9 million lats (85.5 million euros), but the demand against the Ministry of Finance was denied. BDO had filed suit against the state in May 2005, demanding 238 million lats to cover losses. Riga Regional Court began reviewing the suit on June 22 this year. BDO’s attorneys Viktors Tihonovs and Vairis Brize, had justified the demand based on a 1995 government memorandum on guaranteeing investment coverage for BB, legislation pertaining to compensation for investors, as well as the Bank of Latvia’s insufficient supervision of BB. Romualds Vonsovics, lawyer for the government, had said that his side “does not acknowledge the liquidator’s demand, not even for one santim.” Besides, a 10-year statute of limitations had set in, he pointed out.