The government on July 22 approved the participation of Latvian soldiers in military exercises in Ukraine, scheduled for September, reports LETA. The ‘Rapid Trident 2014’ military exercises will take place in Ukraine from Sept. 11 - 28. Participating in the land and air exercises will be soldiers from Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Poland, Spain, Greece, Romania, the United States, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Saeima adopted a state defense funding law, which stipulates a gradual increase of funding for defense, reaching at least 2 percent of GDP by 2020, reports LETA. The law stipulates funding for national security in the amount of at least 1 percent of GDP in 2015, while in 2016 the funding is expected to be 1.1 of GDP; in 2017 at 1.3 percent; in 2018 up to 1.5 percent; in 2019 at 1.75 percent, but in 2020 and thereafter at 2 percent of GDP. The objective is to facilitate improvement of state defense capabilities and fulfill Latvia’s NATO obligations. Currently, 0.91 percent of GDP is allotted from the state budget to national defense. In 2013, this was the third lowest among NATO members.
Thirty-nine percent of youth in Latvia believe that the possibilities of getting a job that appeals to them are ‘poor,’ according to a study by the Youth Competence Center, reports LETA. Only 16 percent evaluate job opportunities in Latvia as ‘good,’ while 32 percent believe they would have a better chance abroad. Seventy-two percent of the surveyed youth, between 18 and 25 years of age, indicated that the lack of job opportunities in Latvia is one reason for them to emigrate. Other reasons mentioned: low salaries and the general quality of life. More than two-thirds of youth believe that by increasing the average salary in Latvia, Latvian youth living abroad would return. Other solutions include improving of job opportunities and the standard of living in Latvia. The survey was carried out in collaboration with SolidData. Five hundred people participated.