RIGA - We must find where the funding allocated by the Government for the increase of teachers' salaries has gone, emphasized President Edgars Rinkevics, who met with the Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) at Riga Castle today.
The President expressed hope that a solution will be found, although there is different information on why the salaries of about two percent of teachers has actually decreased. Rinkevics called on the Ministry of Education and Science to bring all parties to the same table and do everything to understand how this situation has arisen.
The President noted that the issue of the country's eastern border had been discussed with the Prime Minister, as well as the necessary funding planned for the next year to strengthen internal and external security. According to Rinkevics, work on the national budget and other issues is progressing optimally.
The US State Department has supported the sale of six HIMARS missile artillery systems to Latvia, and Latvia will also purchase high-precision and long-range ATACMS missiles. The President underlined that this was good news and a consistent step in further strengthening national security. Rinkevics pointed out that the acquisition of air defense systems will be financed by national funds and US funds.
During the meeting, Silina briefed the President on how talks with local governments have gone. According to the Prime Minister, such talks take place every year when the government is drawing up the national budget.
"This year it was clear that some municipalities would have to be supported, given the demographic situation and the declining population. We are talking about the border area. We are creating special support by giving municipalities extra funding so that they can pay their bills this year. However, he are not doing this at the expense of other municipalities," stressed Silina.
She pointed out that extra funding was found for the care of special needs children. This will include co-financing of 30 percent from the state, so any Latvian resident with special needs children will be able to qualify for support on an equal footing, as until now it depended on the capacity of local governments.
On internal and external security, the Prime Minister stressed that these are government priorities for which additional funding has been allocated. According to Silina, additional funding has been earmarked for the construction of the border area. At the moment, work is progressing smoothly so that the border area infrastructure will be completed by the end of next year.
"This year we plan to have the land border with Belarus completed. It is clear that we are constantly faced with a hybrid threat and the threat of illegal migration from Belarus," the Prime Minister said.
Turning to the issue of teachers' salaries, the Prime Minister stressed that it is necessary to find the reason why the salaries of 2% of teachers have decreased. She pointed out that teachers should be paid adequately and that this issue should be addressed by the Ministry of Education and Science, the relative trade union, local governments and the State Audit Office.