Latvia to push for EU funds post-2020 as well

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Latvia will try to convince the European Commission that the less developed regions of Latvia will still need support after the current EU funds programming period concludes in 2020, Latvia's Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola told Latvian Radio Tuesday.

The Finance Minister said that currently Latvia's development projects are fully dependent on EU funds, which won't be available post-2020. That's why Latvia will try to convince the Commission that it needs funding after the current programming period too.

Reizniece-Ozola said that all the documents necessary for absorbing EU funds of the current planning period might be confirmed by year-end. However she said there's still a lot left to do with only €170m of the funds absorbed as of now.

"We realize how dependent on EU funds we are," she said. As all the development projects – roads, ports, and others – are funded by the EU rather than the national budget, it's critically important that money enters the economy as fast as possible, said the Latvian Finance Minister.

While this year the absorption of EU funds will be slower than planned initially, Reizniece-Ozola said that "next year looks very optimistic, I hope our construction and other industries will be able to keep up."

By mid-2016 the Agriculture Ministry, State Chancery and the Justice Ministry were the quickest to absorb EU funds.

A total of €4.4b in EU funds are available to Latvia in the 2014-2020 programming period. 

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