In commenting on this year, 25 percent of respondents said that it could be better than 2011, according to a poll carried out by the public opinion and market research center SKDS in December, reports LETA. Compared to the previous year’s data, positive responses increased by six percent. In 2010 it was 19 percent; in 2009 it was 12 percent, and in 2008 there were 11 percent of respondents who believed that the next year would be better. Twenty percent of respondents forecast that the next year will be worse, which is a decrease by eight percent, compared to the results of 2010, when worse prospects were forecast by 28 percent. This also tops the results of 2008, when 52 percent of residents saw no hope in the future. SKDS surveyed 1,000 random persons between the ages of 18 to 74.
The main challenge these days is not economic, but spiritual values, believes Riga Archbishop Zbignevs Stankevics, reports LETA. In an interview with Latvian State Television on Dec. 30, Stankevics stressed that people had to respect each other more. Respect of other people was not valued much during the Soviet period, and little has changed since the restoration of Latvia’s independence. Stankevics believes that society must become more active, and people who sling mud at each other on the Internet and in the media must be shamed for what they do. Internet portal administrators and owners must also keep an eye on what is being posted on their portals, he said. The Archbishop won last year’s ‘European Person of the Year in Latvia’ award. He was selected by a public opinion poll, conducted by the European Movement Latvia, one in which to identify the person whose contribution to Latvia and Europe had been the greatest in 2011.
To develop successfully, closer cooperation is needed within the European Union, and the EU must move toward federalization, Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee member Atis Lejins (Unity) says in an interview with the daily Diena. “The problem is that we are 27. Each country should not focus only on its own interests, similarly to Latvia, where each ministry attempts to gain more for itself. Therefore Europe needs not only fiscal discipline, but also a certain federalization. The question is whether Europe can pull itself together and realize that we can compete in this ever-changing world only by sticking together,” emphasized the politician. Lejins supports the idea of “Europe’s core,” a two-speed Europe, with countries that can adapt to this century and those that cannot. “It is unavoidable if the remaining countries do not pull themselves together. For example, Finland and Estonia realized that, by living next to Russia, it is necessary to lean towards Europe’s center – Brussels,” explains Lejins.
Popular Latvian writer and satirist Andrejs Skailis (born Andrejs Vite) died at the age of 84, reports LETA. Skailis was born in Riga on April 1, 1927. He studied at the Riga Technical University (1941-1946) and Latvian Academy of Agriculture (1946-1949). From 1963 to 1991, he worked at the Dadzis satirical magazine as a writer and editor, then as deputy editor in chief. Skailis’ first article was published in 1959. He was a member of the Latvian Writers’ Union since 1964. He had written a total of 23 books, which have been translated into German, Russian, Turkmen and Tajik. Skailis also wrote screenplays for several Latvian films and animated cartoons.The funeral for Skailis will be held on Jan. 7, in First Forest Cemetery.