Latvija in brief - 2012-07-12

  • 2012-07-11

The government on July 10 decided to release longtime Education and Science Ministry State Secretary Mareks Gruskevics from his position, reports LETA. After reviewing conclusions drawn by the Disciplinary Commission, Education Minister Roberts Kilis pushed for a Cabinet decision on releasing Gruskevics in connection with violations in the 9 million lats procurement of computers for Latvia’s schools and the losses suffered thereof. The minister’s advisor, Reinis Tukiss, previously said that during the reorganization of the Education and Science Ministry and analysis of the ministry’s work, Kilis established serious violations on the part of the ministry’s top officials, as a result of which the state of Latvia sustained, or could sustain, major losses, and taxpayers’ money could be squandered. The minister decided to open disciplinary cases against two senior Education and Science Ministry officials: state secretary Gruskevics and his deputy Inga Stale. The funds in the case of the computer procurement, at a total amount of the contract at 9 million lats, was to be received from the EU structural funds.

The European Commission said on July 4 that it has renewed payments to Latvia from the European Social Fund, reports LETA. The European Commission’s representation in Latviass spokeswoman Sanita Jemberga, said that the payments from the European Social Fund have been renewed, as the control and administration system in Latvia for these funds has been improved. The previous week, the European Commission, recognizing Latvia’s accomplishments in ensuring control over European Union fund payments, decided to lift temporary restrictions on funding from the Cohesion and European Regional Development funds. The European Commission has since transferred Latvia’s declared 55.5 million euros European Regional Development and Cohesion fund payments to the country’s budget. This is the first installment of around 90 million euros that the country has declared in the said funds since December 2011, but has not received due to the temporary suspension of EU payments. The remaining 34.5 million euros will be transferred in the nearest future.

Seventy-nine percent of economically-active Latvian residents do not feel that Latvia has overcome the economic crisis, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel, reports Seventy-nine percent of respondents said that, even though the government is optimistic regarding the current economic situation in Latvia and claims that the crisis is over, they do not experience these changes in their families. Forty-seven percent believe that the crisis is definitely not over, 32 percent point out that it most likely continues. Meanwhile, 17 percent believe that the country has overcome the crisis. Two percent are certain about it, 15 percent are rather sure. Four percent have no opinion. The survey was carried out from June 26 to June 28; altogether, 650 residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed.