Latvija in brief - 2012-06-14

  • 2012-06-13

In order to improve the demographic situation in the country, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) supports the view that it is necessary to motivate parents to have more than one child, reports LETA. However, the prime minister believes that in order to motivate parents to take such a step, practical issues must first be addressed, like reducing the lines for kindergartens, said Dombrovskis’ press secretary Martins Panke. “If parents have already been affected by similar problems, it will be hard to convince them to have more children,” the prime minister believes. The Demographics Council gave its support early last week for the proposal to slash real estate tax by 50 percent for families with multiple children. In this regard, the Finance Ministry has been asked to draw up a bill on a 50 percent tax discount on a house or apartment, and their corresponding land plot, for families with three or more children. Eligible are parents who reside on one of said properties with their children, and are officially registered there.

The European Commission has not given a clear answer on when a decision on resuming European Union fund payments to Latvia could be made, reports LETA. “The European Commission has received information from Latvian institutions and is currently analyzing this information. We do not have a specific date when a decision could be made on this matter,” one of the commission’s spokespersons told the European Commission’s representation in Latvia. This past May, the spokeswoman for the European Commission’s representation in Latvia, Sanita Jemberga, informed LETA that “if everything goes according to plan, we hope for EU fund payments to Latvia to be renewed in June.” At the end of January, the European Commission suspended EU fund payments to Latvia, saying that the Finance Ministry, which deals with the allocation of the funds, lacks a mechanism for influencing decisions made by ministries and government agencies in the distribution of the EU funding.

Sixty-one percent of economically-active Latvian residents do not believe in the European Union’s capability of solving eurozone issues, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel, reports LETA. Twelve percent of respondents are certain that the EU will not be able to solve these issues in the nearest future, while 49 percent believe that Brussels will most likely not be able to do so. Twenty-seven percent, however, believe that the EU will be able to solve eurozone problems. The survey was carried out from June 5 to June 7; altogether, 600 residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed.

June 14, memorial day for the many thousands of Latvians deported in 1941 from Soviet-occupied Latvia, will be commemorated by President Andris Berzins at events in Gulbene (eastern Latvia), reports LETA. This will be the president’s first visit to the region, and he is scheduled to meet with local residents. He will be present at commemorative ceremonies at Gulbene Railway Station and in Litene Cemetery, the resting place for Latvian army officers. Defense Minister Pabriks, ministry officials and commanding NAF officers are also scheduled to attend. The visit will also include a new book presentation (The Second World War and Latvia: Developments and Consequences in the 1940s-60s).