When drafting the 2014 national budget, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis’ priorities will be reducing poverty and inequality, improving demographics, health care and infrastructure, reports LETA. Salary increases for healthcare workers will also be considered, the prime minister said in an interview with Latvian State Television on June 18. From 50-60 million lats, or slightly more, could be allotted to implement the new motions. Fifty-percent of this sum could be allotted for indexing pensions, explained Dombrovskis. The government’s plans of reducing labor taxes remain in force. However, as indicated by international experts, the Reform Party’s solution of reducing personal income tax from 24 percent to 22 percent is not the most optimal one. There is no reason to ignore better solutions, added the prime minister.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis believes that Russian residents’ perception of Latvia as a hostile country towards Russia is a consequence of distorted information about Latvia by the Russian media, reports LETA. As Dombrovskis told members of the press on June 18, the results of a survey carried out in Russia is “no surprise,” as similar surveys have been carried out in the past. “This shows that the Russian media continues to present distorted information to the public about the processes and events taking place in Latvia,” Dombrovskis said. Russian residents believe that Latvia is the third most unfriendly country after Georgia and the United States, according to a survey carried out by the analytical center Levada. Thirty-eight percent of respondents say that the United States is unfriendly and hostile toward Russia, while 33 percent mention Georgia. Russian residents believe that all Baltic States are unfriendly and hostile toward Russia: Latvia - 21 percent; Lithuania - 17 percent; Estonia - 16 percent. 1,600 people from 45 Russian regions took part in the survey.
Defense Minister Artis Pabriks on June 25 participated in the official meeting of the board of the Daugavas Vanagi organization, urging to support “those tired of democracy,” reports LETA. “You, Daugavas Vanagi members, who have spent a large part of your lives in democratic countries, are the cornerstone of civic society and you have proved it over many years,” emphasized the minister. Pabriks called on the organization to strengthen the democratic stance of Latvia’s society and serve as an example of an active and educated society gaining much from hard-fought freedom. “I am convinced that, if democracy falls, independence is the next one to follow. Therefore uniting society is highly important for the country’s existence,” said Pabriks. The Latvian Army and the Home Guard ensure external security and are ready to repel attacks from outside. Society and its solidarity, however, is a much stronger internal force, emphasized the minister.