RIGA - Culture Minister Sarmite Elerte (Unity), after a meeting with President Andris Berzins on July 18, commented that if Latvia does not have a clear and common national identity, it will not be able to develop successfully and quickly, reports news agency LETA. Elerte discussed with the president about the development of National Identity and Social Integration Guidelines, and Berzins agreed that they are of utmost importance. Both officials agreed to meet during the development of these guidelines.
Berzins also indicated that the national identity issue is highly substantial for the existence of Latvia, and an extremely important matter in order to stop economic emigration and facilitate the homecoming of Latvian citizens abroad.
According to Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis’ (Unity) Government Declaration, the National Identity and Social Integration Guidelines will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers in October. The aim of the document will be to show the direction and to start necessary processes in order to create a single and united community in Latvia. The guidelines will also provide insight of what to do with the Latvian diaspora in foreign countries and what kind of repatriation policy to establish.
Elerte indicated that there is a need for a “virtual marketplace,” where Latvians who want to return to Latvia could “meet” their potential employers. She implied that Latvia must support its people in foreign countries in many different areas - both by supporting social networks and Sunday Schools.
The country must consider that a lifestyle where people are living abroad for a period of time is becoming more popular. Therefore, the Latvian nation is not and will not be only those living in Latvia.
Elerte invited the president to join her in visiting the Latvian National Library, or ‘Palace of Light,’ as it is an example of a centuries old cultural layer in combination with modern 21st century information technologies. Berzins accepted the invitation.
In the meeting with the culture minister, Berzins agreed to become Chief Patron of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival in 2013.