Latvija in brief

  • 2013-07-24

Fifty-four percent of Latvian residents support reducing the number of higher education establishments, according to a survey carried out by TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel, reports LETA. Education and Science Minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis previously said that the proportion in Latvia is too high. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said that they “certainly” support the reduction in Latvia, while 31 percent said that they “most likely” support such a reduction. Thirty-six percent surveyed believe that the number of higher education establishments in the country should not be reduced. Ten percent did not have a specific point of view. The survey was carried out from July 9 to 11; 800 residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed.

The majority of foreigners who have chosen to live permanently in Latvia last year came from European Union countries, but there is also a substantial proportion of permanent residents from Russia, reports LETA. According to the Central Statistical Bureau, out of the 13,300 foreigners who registered as permanent residents last year, 54.9 percent came from the European Union. 22.6 percent foreigners who registered as permanent residents last year came from Russia, while 20.4 percent persons came from other countries, and 2.1 percent came from either Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Meanwhile, 20,503 Latvian residents left for permanent residency in one of the EU countries last year.

In an interview with LETA, independent Riga City Council member Vadims Jerosenko, who was expelled from Harmony Center after the local government elections, said that the elections have not brought any substantial changes to Riga City Council, and that the ruling coalition of Harmony Center and Honor to Serve Riga continue to strengthen the system of supporting themselves and their close business associates, which just leads to stagnation. “This system will most likely continue. It can be compared to a beautiful building from the outside, which is crumbling on the inside and will eventually collapse,” Jerosenko said. He said that Riga City Council has its own system of doing things, in which Riga Vice Mayor Andris Ameriks oversees economic matters, while Harmony Center is in charge of social projects. “The city’s most important economic decision are not made by councilmen on the various committees, but by Ameriks and the several businessmen that are close associates of coalition members. Such a system is favorable for these business associates and city council members in the coalition, but not for the development of the city,” Jerosenko warns, while at the same time not mentioning any specific names or companies involved. “Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs has always needed a strong shoulder, either Urbanovics, Slesers and now Ameriks,” he said.