Government pledges nearly 5 million euros to send Latvia to Dubai Expo

Latvian taxpayers will support participation at the Expo Dubai 2020 event to the tune of 4.8 million euros, the government decided April 24.

Economics Minister Arvils Ašeradens (Unity) told the press that an agreement would be signed with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LTRK) about organizing the country's presence in Dubai.

The LTRK will produce a budget proposal for Latvia's participation in Expo 2020 Dubai by August this year and then the government will decide on the required co-financing from the state budget. It is planned that the government and business representatives will co-finance the country's participation in the world trade fair, suggesting the final bill will be considerably higher than the 4.8 million euro figure mentioned.

LTRK head Janis Endzins said that the organizers had estimated the total cost of the Latvian pavillion at Expo 2020 Dubai would be at least EUR 6 million but he was certain that a lesser amount would prove sufficient.

In December 2017 the government in principle approved Latvia's participation in Expo 2020 Dubai world trade fair.

Latvia's history of participation in similar events is checkered. In 2012 the Latvian government approved the country's participation at Expo 2015 Milan but, as the costs of participation in the world trade fair increased, the ministers reversed their decision at the eleventh hour, as reported by LSM at the time.

High costs, plus fear of repeating the Milan debacle were cited as the reason for the government's decision not to participate in Expo 2017 Astana, though Latvia did have a presence via a pavilion organized by the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry which featured a memorable concert.

During a visit to the United Arab Emirates a year ago, President Raimonds Vējonis said Latvia should participate at the 2020 event, though the visit also attracted headlines of a different sort when he was photographed enjoying dinner with a businessmen widely regarded as one of Latvia's oligarchs.

According to the no-expense-spared website of Expo 2020 Dubai, the themes of the event will be "Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability."

You might also enjoy this stunningly portentous video about a logo someone came up with for the event.

 

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