EU Presidency benefits may be similar to costs - claim

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Financial consulting company KPMG released a study Friday estimating that Latvia could stand to gain €64.5m in the ancillary benefits of assuming the Presidency of the Council of the EU from January until July next year.

The presidency term will ensure higher tax returns, promote employment, raise residents’ income, favorably impact tourism and improve the professionalism of the civil service, says the study, which LSM has ascertained was commissioned by the Secretariat of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union - the organizers of the presidency.

KPMG estimates in its report - dated October 17 - that tax income during the Presidency will exceed €44m, with €25.7m coming from income tax revenues, €10.8m from procurements made during the Presidency and €7.5m in taxes from consumption prompted by the extra spending of salaries.

Approximately 25,000 political officials and staff, and 750 journalists are expected to be welcomed in Riga during the Presidency. The boost in tourism alone could bring in about €9.5m in revenues to the state, according to the report.

Among the qualitative benefits resulting from the Presidency are the practical skills and training gained by the civil service, as well as broader cooperation opportunities for Latvian companies at the European level networks of research and development, which will then boost Latvia’s export potential and foreign trade ties.

Latvia’s earnings from its Presidency of the Council of the EU are expected to slightly surpass those of Lithuania, which took on the role during the second half of 2013 and planned to benefit to the tune of €55.41m.

However, the report only looked at the positive financial effect and not any potential negative effects.

Coincidentally the amount of money Latvia has earmarked to spend on the Presidency is very close to the figure produced by KPMG at around €70m. 

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