Latvija in brief - 2013-05-16

  • 2013-05-15

Saeima passed amendments to the Citizenship Law on May 9, part of which deal with the dual citizenship question, reports LETA. The amendments will come into force on Oct. 1 this year. They stipulate that nationals residing abroad, citizens of Latvia who were deported or left Latvia as a result of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany occupations, or those that were deported up to May 4, 1990 and had not returned to Latvia permanently, qualify for and will be able to apply for dual citizenship. Also, citizenship will be granted to newborns, regardless of where they are born, if one of their parents is a citizen of Latvia. Non-citizens’ children born in Latvia after Aug. 21, 1991 will also be granted Latvian citizenship if they are permanent residents of Latvia and currently have the status of a stateless person or a non-citizen, and if the parents of the child have no objections and confirm that they will help the child learn the Latvian language and honor and respect the Republic of Latvia.

More than half, or 52 percent, of economically-active residents believe that road repairs should be the main priority of local governments, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel. Forty-nine percent point out that local government should prioritize unemployment reduction measures, 29 percent mention “freezing” heat, water supply and other tariffs, 27 percent say support for young families, 25 percent say facilitating business activities. Fourteen percent believe that local governments should focus on increasing social benefits, 13 percent say actively participating in solving health care problems, 10 percent demand decreasing public transportation fares. The survey was carried out from April 23 to 25; altogether, 800 residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed.

Even though the overall public sentiment tends to improve in Latvia during the pre-election period, the latest DNB Latvia Barometer survey reveals that this is currently not the case, reports Residents’ opinions about job opportunities in Latvia and the government’s performance have grown worse. Residents believe that the government should prioritize solving social problems (36 percent), unemployment (34 percent) and raising the standard of living (27 percent). According to the public, with high current unemployment, the government should focus on creating new jobs, though this reminds one of a socialist state, where the state is responsible to create jobs, not the private sector. Respondents also emphasize the lack of well-paid jobs. In regard to raising the standard of living, 21 percent stress the necessity of raising salaries, 6 percent mention combating poverty and improving the populace’s welfare so that it would be able to live and stay in the country, as opposed to making ends meet and migrating.