Latvija in brief - 2013-07-11

  • 2013-07-10

After the July 9 decision taken in Brussels at the ECOFIN meeting in which European Union finance ministers made the final decision to allow Latvia to join the eurozone, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said that this is not only important for Latvia, but also for the eurozone. “This is a good day for both Latvia and the euro, Dombrovskis said. This is good for the eurozone itself, as another country joining the euro-area shows trust in the European single currency, despite the recent financial problems some eurozone countries have gone through, and some even expressing concern about the currency’s future. The prime minister said that “The road has been a long one, which began when Latvia joined the European Union in 2004. I would like to especially thank Finance Minister Andris Vilks for all the hard work he has put in to make this possible.” Latvia will become the eurozone’s 18th member on Jan. 1.

The captain of yacht Alegra, en route from Riga to Ruhnu Island in the Gulf of Riga, fell overboard in the evening of July 5, reports LETA. The boat’s passengers were rescued, while an Air Force helicopter started the search for the missing captain, said the Naval Forces press officer Liene Ulbina. The Naval Forces were notified of the accident at 4:30 a.m. on July 6 by the Fire and Rescue Service, which said two persons on board the Alegra had called the service, saying they did not know how to steer the boat, nor could they tell the location of the vessel. Several ships in the area, including Finnish and Dutch ships, helped to locate the boat. Eventually the boat was found and towed to Riga Port, whereas the passengers boarded the RK-15 boat were also taken to the Riga Port. In the meantime, the Air Force helicopter continues to search for the missing yacht captain.

A task force established by the Ministry of Education and Science to analyze ways to achieve faster high school graduation proposes to reduce the total schooling period by one year, and move from nine-year primary education to eight years, reports LETA. This is just one of three proposals offered by the task force, said Education and Science Ministry representative Inta Stipniece. Another proposal is to keep the current system intact, whereas the third proposal is that children start to go to primary school from the age of six. The task force emphasizes that faster high school graduation should be viewed in the context with the Ministry’s other reforms to the education system. The task force also notes the importance of making vocational education more popular with schoolchildren. The task force’s conclusions say that faster high school graduation alone will not solve the problem of youth competitiveness on the labor market, though.