RIGA - Several ministries have proposed that Latvia analyze the situation in Estonia, which has a higher birth rate than Latvia, and that, based on the results of the analysis, provide additional support from the state budget for tackling demographic problems in Latvia already next year, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) said after the ruling coalition’s meeting on July 30, reports LETA.
These problems will be considered by the Demographic Affairs Council, which will analyze three areas: improving access to kindergartens, prolonging the payment of maternity benefits to 1.5 years, upgrades to the reproductive health program, explained Dombvrovskis.
Imants Paradnieks of All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK said that a decision was taken, in principle, that the Welfare Ministry and Finance Ministry would have to present reports by Aug. 13 on how these problems “could be solved successfully and addressed by the 2013 state budget.”
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) said that the Reform Party supported these initiatives too; however, they should be commensurate with budget possibilities. Also, the benefits must be socially fair to prevent a situation where people who receive large salaries are also entitled to large maternity or paternity benefits, while others, who may not be so well off, receive benefits under the minimum amount.