Latvija in brief - 2011-12-01

  • 2011-11-30

Starting from next year, the unemployed will again be offered various odd jobs by local governments, replacing the current 100 lats (142 euros) program, which is a social security program in which out of work persons receive 100 lats per month for doing various jobs, reports LETA. This is according to the Law on Support for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment, which Saeima passed on Nov. 24. The program is very important at this time, when, as a result of the crisis, the number of people who have been out of work for a long time has increased by up to 44 percent. Municipal jobs are a way to help these people return to the labor market. Jobless people will be involved in the program for a period of four months, receiving 100 lats after tax every month for their work. Those who are not paid unemployment benefits, have not applied for early retirement and have been out of work for at least six months will be able to apply.

At the National Trilateral Cooperation Council meeting on Nov. 28, officials from the Finance Ministry (FM) informed the so-called social partners that in the bill being prepared for the 2012 national budget, final requests are being entered, and will be ready by Dec. 5, reports LETA. The budget bill was heatedly debated as the social partners insisted on seeing it before it is approved by the Cabinet. The social partners pointed to confusion over exactly what the budget entails, and ministries have been unable to answer all key questions. At the meeting it was clear that the FM would be unable to schedule a separate meeting with the social partners, therefore they were to be invited to take part in the Dec. 5 emergency Cabinet session. The budget bill is expected to go to Saeima on Dec. 6.

The proposal to give Russian state language status does not coincide with the point of view of the general public, but is an attempt by politicians to increase their popularity, President Andris Berzins said on Nov. 29 during an interview on the Latvian Radio 1 program ‘Krustpunkta,’ reports LETA. He pointed out that he has not changed his point of view on this issue, and believes that the Latvian language must be the foundation of unity in Latvia. Berzins urged political parties to work together to find a way to move forward. From Nov. 1 to 28, a total of 130,678 voters signed the petition for Constitutional amendments which would give state language status for Russian, reported the Central Election Commission. The signature drive was to continue until Nov. 30. A total of 154,379 signatures must be collected to stage a referendum. Provisional results of the signature drive will be announced on Dec. 1.