She told BNS “the fact that ten years after joining the family of EU nations Latvia’s GDP is still just 64% of the average among member states is undoubtedly one of the reasons why a large part of our economically active residents have flooded away to more developed states and why one of our most critical problems right now is depopulation.”
“This clearly cuts into our competitiveness and development prospects,” the chief of the nation’s NGO representing the job givers’ lobby went on to argue.
“But depopulation is the consequence not the cause. Mr.Ryder wanted to know what long-term solutions we envision to this problem. We stressed that the depopulation is due to economic reasons and in order to resolve them we must encourage enterprises to invest in development and create new jobs,” said Meņģelsone.
She finished with a call for reduced tax burden, a Europe-wide concern, as well as lower prices in electric energy bills – so important to all manufacturing firms, raising research and development spending and bringing the academic and business communities closer, ensuring skills for residents that are in demand in the job market.
The meeting with the ILO head came the day after the informal meeting of welfare and employment ministers chaired by Welfare Minister Uldis Augulis and dedicated to the pursuit of effective policies in social dialogue.
The Latvian Employers’ Confederation is the country’s largest NGO lobby for leading job providers and a key partner in the government’s social dialogue for economy, labor and welfare issues. Its members account for 41% of Latvia’s working population.