€100m in EU funds pass Latvia by

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In 2016 about €100m less than previously planned will flow into Latvia's economy in EU funds. According to Finance Ministry estimates, the potential losses can reach €260m if the goals set for 2018 aren't reached, reported Latvian Television Thursday.

From 2014 to 2020 Latvia has access to €4.4bn in EU funds, however within two years projects for only a fraction of this money - for €284m - have been confirmed. 

On Thursday President Raimonds Vējonis blasted the government for the delay:

"Two years have passed. It's negligent work on the part of the responsible ministries. [Absorbing the funds] will be one of the priorities for the new government," Vējonis told Latvian Television's Rīta Panorāma Thursday morning.

Several ministries are behind schedule for the absorption of EU funds. Among those lagging behind are the Transport Ministry, the Education Ministry, the Ministry for Environment and Regional Development, as well as the Economics Ministry and the Health Ministry.

Railway electrification projects, research, recycling and heating are among the projects experiencing delays.

Chief of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency Andris Ozols said that the fund administration reform may be at fault, giving control over managing the funds to the Central Finance and Agreement Agency under the Finance Ministry, while the Finance Ministry predictably disagreed, laying blame on the ministries. 

Finance Ministry representatives said discussions on EU funds will be among the first matters to be presented to the new government.

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