Latvian government advances port takeover plan

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On Monday, March 15, the coalition agreed to step up the major port reform in Rīga and Ventspils proposed by the New Conservative Party (JKP).

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) said after the meeting of the Cooperation Council that the coalition partners agreed to support the option proposed by the Ministry of Transport (SM). The plan provides that the three largest ports of Latvia -- Rīga, Ventspils and Liepāja -- should be transformed into State capital companies. However, the coalition has only agreed to implement the plan only in Ventspils and Rīga for the time being. 

JKP leader Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns said the Liepāja port would not be affected because of the "great lobbying". He also said that there is only a conceptual agreement on the reform of Ventspils and Rīga port and the government has yet to decide on this.

Politicians believe that state-owned companies will be able to manage ports more transparently and efficiently.

Management of state capital companies is expected to be depoliticized, i.e. there would be no political control, said the Prime Minister.

Among other things, a small proportion of the shares of state-owned enterprises – 5%-10% – could be listed on the stock exchange. It would develop a fund exchange, but because of the high standards of the state capital company's stock exchange, it would be transparent and would introduce good governance standards.

The initiative was introduced back in 2019 as a result of the United States' decision to sanction former Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs.

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