Latvia's participation in international organizations is primarily related to the implementation of foreign policy objectives and international cooperation in different sectors. However, participation also means corresponding public budget expenditure for membership fees and various other contributions.
Therefore, the State Audit Office calls for the development of procedures for assessing commitments prior to Latvia's accession to international organizations, for the presentation of these commitments in the Annual Economic Report (SGP), as well as for ensuring the availability of aggregated information on all international organizations in which Latvia is a Member State.
Already during the previous SGP audit, the State Audit Office invited the Ministry of Finance, responsible for preparing the SGP, to provide information on how the assessment for the calculation and presentation of liabilities to SGP in relation to Latvia's participation in international organizations is carried out.
In the conclusions of the 2019 SGP audit, State Audit recognized that such an assessment is not carried out and that the commitments are not presented in the SGP and thus do not provide true and reliable information on the financial situation of the State.
In cooperation with the Finnish Supreme Audit Authority, State Audit Office has obtained information on the Finnish Republic's commitment to the post-employment benefits of international organizations of EUR 1.4 billion (commitments to cover pensions, pension benefits, post-employment life insurance, medical care and the like).
Therefore, there is no reason to believe that Latvia does not have such obligations in proportion to participation.
The audit also found that no institution compiles information on all international organizations in which Latvia is a Member State, and such information is not available in one place.
The publicly available information is incomplete and even misleading. The budget explanations for 2019 and the home pages of the institutions contain information on participation in 120 international organizations, but in accordance with international public law not all organizations meet the criteria.
When assessing the amount of expenditure related to participation in international organizations, State Audit found that expenditure continued to grow. It is therefore all the more important to identify the amount of expenditure and the timely planning of expenditure.