Budget submitted to parliament with hefty debates ahead

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Finance Minister Janis Reirs delivered his proposed 2015 budget to the Latvian parliament or Saeima Wednesday as the government races to get it in place by the end of the year.

As is traditional, the spending plans were handed over to Saeima officials for debate in a battered satchel with the names of previous finance ministers engraved on a brass plate attached to it.

The move clear the way for the first debate on the budget to take place as soon as Thursday December 11, meaning lawmakers face a night of homework poring over the figures.

The second and final reading could then take place on December 17 or 18, as is highly likely given the government's comfortable parliamentary majority.

Nevertheless lengthy and sometimes stormy parliamentary debates are likely as MPs argue for their own amendments to be included. 

Reirs described the budget as being focussed on social issues and national security, saying:

Given the difficult geopolitical situation created by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the growing importance of security in Europe, the Latvian government has placed significant focus on our country's internal and external security. So next year's budget is one about our country's social and national security."

Next year's state budget revenue is planned at 7.3 billion euros, while expenditure is planned at 7.5 billion euros.

The general government deficit is forecast to be 247.6 million euros, or 1% of GDP.

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