RIGA - Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks, as well as several former prime ministers, agree that the prime minister and government members should receive larger salaries than they do now, while at the same time pointing out that this could trigger a negative reaction from the public, reports LETA.
Vilks is confident that government salaries can be raised, and believes that this will attract more professionals to ministerial posts. According to the minister, the current salaries are inadequately low when compared to other countries. As an example, he mentioned Estonia, where salaries for ministers are two times higher. Furthermore, when government salaries were increased in Estonia, this was explained to the public, who accepted them. “This matter must be solved sooner or later. We are speaking about a relatively small number of persons. What kind of specialists can we find for a monthly salary of 1,000 lats (1,428 euros)? What kind of professional would be prepared to come and work as a minister for [this]?” the minister asked LETA.
Former Prime Ministers Aigars Kalvitis and Ivars Godmanis agreed that salaries should be raised. While Kalvitis agrees that this should occur when the next government takes over, Godmanis believes that salaries should be linked to the average economic figures in the country, and that salaries should also be similar to other European countries that are in a similar position as Latvia. At the same time, Godmanis believes that politicians must take into account that their salaries will be smaller than what professionals make. Kalvitis also said that politicians must take into account that their salaries will not be as large as those working in the private business sphere, as the tradition in Latvia is that those who go into politics do it for principle, not to make money.
The project director of the public relations company P.R.A.E., Arnis Lapins, emphasized that if salaries are raised, it is important to communicate properly with the public.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) points out that many in Latvia do not have an adequate salary, but added that salaries for politicians should not be the main reason that they work in this field. According to him, the welfare system must first be straightened out, and only then can discussions on raising salaries for politicians take place.