Former Finance Minister: Latvia and EU growth moderate but stable

Even though Latvia's economy has problems that can potentially become worse, economic development is moderate but stable, said Andris Vilks, former Finance Minister of Latvia, in a broadcast on Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Vilks said that Latvia's foreign debt is small, and several other parameters in the economy are positive. However, the unemployment rate is not among those. 

"Latvia's economy is growing slower and will grow slower [than in the years preceding the crisis]," said Vilks. He also commended the exporters that are looking for new markets while EU-Russia relations are tense.

He also expressed hope that the Ministry of Finance will not give in to pressure to increase the budget deficit, as it could harm both the attractiveness of Latvia as a place for investing, as well as Latvia's image in the eyes of the EU as corruption is still rife and sometimes rather open sympathies for Vladimir Putin are still expressed around here.

The overall European tendency is similar - it will grow slower than in the previous years, but in a more pragmatical manner. The slower growth is connected both to the experience accrued during the crisis as well Russia's foreign policy and trouble in Ukraine and Greece.

Andris Vilks was Finance Minister in the governments of Valdis Dombrovskis and Laimdota Straujuma. He was also one of the finance ministers who lead the country during the economic downturn and was widely credited with helping to turn the country around and winning entry to the eurozone.

He is also a longstanding and outspoken critic of Greek economic policies and the string of bailouts that Athens has collected.

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