Officials not required to report representation expenses during pandemic

During the pandemic, wider public events and foreign visits did not take place. However, there are questions about representation expenses for public officials during the time, Latvian Radio reported on June 1.

As the emergency situation approaches the end, the possibility for senior officials to participate in events and visits could also be resumed. Over the recent months, when such possibilities were minimal, representation expenses were still not accounted for, as the Law does not require accountability for the use of these funds.

In the midst of the state of emergency, the majority of parliamentarians did not support the opposition's proposal to withdraw from representation during the time.

"You will have noticed that there are no formal appointments and no participation of senior public officials at various events, holidays, and greetings of diplomacy representatives. We are calling for withdrawal of representation costs," said MEP Jūlija Stepaņenko. 

The proposal was also supported by MEP Dana Reizniece-Ozola: "Solidarity is very important during the crisis. It is an essential signal to the public that we, who sit here on fine premises, work with good technology and receive abnormally high wages, that we give up excess."

The Law on the Compensation of Officials and Employees of State and Local Government Institutions says that representation expenses as part of the remuneration are intended for the President, the Speaker of the Saeima, the Prime Minister and Ministers - a total of 16 persons.

This year, the President of Latvia receives EUR 1192 per month, respectively the Speaker of the Saeima and the Prime Minister - EUR 1132, and Ministers - EUR 1073 intended to cover representation expenses. 

Latvian Radio received a written answer to questions regarding representation expenses. It states that according to the Constitution and Saeima procedures, the Speaker of the Saeima continues to represent and chairs the Saeima and Saeima Bureau meetings, as well as perform other duties. 

Representation compensation is intended to cover practical costs, such as clothing, said the State Chancery representative Reinis Grāvītis. "At the moment, none of the members of the Cabinet has refused to receive the  money for representation expenses. It should be stressed that during the state of emergency, the members of the Cabinet continue to perform their duties remotely, but certainly not to a lesser extent."



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