Government supports further EC sanctions on Russia

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The Cabinet of Ministers held an extraordinary meeting Thursday where it ruled to support the expansion of the European Commission’s (EC) financial, military hardware and high-technology sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma told the media after the session.

“The restrictions apply to five points – the capital markets sphere, defense sector companies, the military-civilian dual-use sector, and sensitive technologies limits related to the energy, oil and arms embargo,” she said.

The premier also stated assurances that the government has an action plan in place for whatever Russia will do in response, although much of this is classified information.

Asked about possible impacts to this year’s budget, Straujuma denied that there would be any effect, however allowed for the possibility that next year’s budget may have to take on a deficit.

“I repeat we have enough resources in this year’s state budget to ensure any response measures to support extra-sensitive sectors of the economy,” she said, referring also to available EU stabilization funding.  

On his part Economics Minister Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis downplayed the expected effects of further sanctions as estimated by the Cabinet’s perusal of the EC-proposed sanction-expansion.

“On the level of the national economy the effects are negligible, we still plan for growth, but just by one percent less,” said the economics minister. He went on to say that the urgent search for new export markets was beginning to hit some targets.

 “In the foods sector we could say we’ve found more than one new sales market – they are Belarus, Kazakhstan and China,” Dombrovskis said, adding that Latvia is well-positioned to enter these potential markets successfully.

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