Finance watchdog: Latvia must be smart with EU money

Take note – story published 3 years ago

Inna Šteinbuka, Chair of the Fiscal Discipline Council (FDP), said in an interview to Latvian Radio July 22 that EU budget Latvia will receive should be used wisely – €10.5 billion should be invested in improving Latvia's productivity and competitiveness.

“I am very pleased with the way European leaders managed to agree on the very difficult budget,” Šteinbuka said. She also praised the work of Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (“New Unity”), trying to find a compromise at the summit of EU leaders.

With the agreement on the EU's multi-annual budget, it has become clear that Latvia will be able to receive €10.5 billion from the EU over the next seven years. “The main thing is that Latvia managed to agree on a very, very large amount of money that we will be able to use over the next seven years. In fact, Latvia will receive approximately one year's national budget over the next seven years,” said Šteinbuka.

“The most important thing is to use this money wisely to make a breakthrough,” she said. “We have low productivity compared to other European countries. We have relatively low competitiveness. And these are absolutely needed now,” said FDP's chairwoman.

Šteinbuka said that the government has a National Development Plan, which highlights key criteria and directions for using money wisely. At the same time, with the exception of Rail Baltica, there are no concrete projects in which the money could be invested.

"A huge challenge is to offer projects to meet both European criteria and to be smart. And it is absolutely necessary that the public be presented with those projects so that a good audit system and transparency on how money will be invested are already in place. Otherwise, some projects might be too costly or inefficient, and that is what we need to avoid,” Šteinbuka said.

After several days of talks in mid-July, EU national leaders agreed on an EU multi-annual budget and economic recovery program of around €1.8 trillion.  As a result, nearly €10.5 billion will be available for Latvia's economic development over the next seven years.

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