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RIGA - Following Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis’ (Unity) decree, the ministries have come up with 148 proposals for social integration, reports LETA. Dombrovskis said in an interview with LNT television on March 28 that 30 proposals are already being implemented or developed, whilst the others are completely new.
The proposals will be implemented in six main directions, for example in creating common information space, ensuring Latvian language classes for minorities, forming closer ties with expatriates by supporting language and culture classes for their children, and others.
The proposals will be arranged, according to their priority, by mid-April to choose the first ones to be implemented, since they require considerable funding and cannot be implemented all at once.
Commenting on the government’s achievements in tackling demographic problems, which was set as a priority when the latest population census data became available, Dombrovskis recalled that the government has set three main directions in this regard – a reproductive health program has already been launched, whereas kindergarten accessibility issues will be solved during the next session of the Demographic Affairs Council. The government also continues work to ensure support for families that have been unable to enroll their children at a kindergarten.
After meeting with President Andris Berzins, the prime minister warned that certain of these society consolidation measures could require additional budget funds. He emphasized that the most important ones are currently being selected, since “various wishes and initiatives must be balanced with actual budget possibilities.”
After evaluation of the Feb. 18 referendum and its results, political leaders seem to have focused on putting more active work on the development of a modern national identity and fostering solidarity of the populace, consolidating the positions of the state language and its role in society, and averting the risk of a rift between the Latvian and Russian-speaking communities.
Dombrovskis previously emphasized that the government is prepared to consider extra budget funds to finance such initiatives, and added that money from the European Union funds could also be redistributed for the purpose.