Finance Minister delivers budget bag to Saeima

Latvian Finance Minister Arvils Ašeradens made the very short walk from his Ministry to the Saeima building in Rīga November 3 in order to officially hand in the government's budget spending plans for 2024.

As has become traditional, he handed in the paperwork in the well-worn briefcase used for the purpose and engraved with the names of his predecessors.

A few years ago, a more modern designer briefcase was used – but it has failed to usurp the more old-fashioned model first toted in 1997 by then-Finance Minister Roberts Zīle. The briefcase is the same one Zīle used back then - hence its pleasantly well-worn appearance and attractive patina.

Brass plates on the bag record the names of each Finance Minister making use of it and the years in which they delivered a budget to Saeima.

Latvia's bag is a nod towards a similar tradition which takes place in the United Kingdom when the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the UK Finance Minister) delivers a budget to the Houses of Parliament.

When it arrives at Saeima it typically weighs in at 3 to 5 kilos, depending upon the amount of paperwork inside.

Only one Finance Minister abandoned his bag-carrying duties – in 2008 Atis Slakteris was abroad when the budget was delivered. The bag never forgave him for the snub and a massive recession followed.

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