Coalition starts bunting 2020 budget back and forth

The government coalition parties have not yet reached an agreement on the 2020 budget, but they are ready for compromise, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) after the coalition cooperation meeting August 19, reported the LETA newswire.

After a meeting that took four hours, Kariņš told the press that the ruling parties discussed the 2020 budget, but did not make any particular decisions.

“The positive news is that there is some money that can be distributed for priorities. Thanks to the growth we can increase budget expenditure, at the same time, reducing budget deficit. Still, we have to find common grounds, but it will require some time,” said Kariņš.

Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns (New Conservative Party, JKP) was critical of the budget talks, saying that the budget proposal prepared by the Finance Ministry did not include the priorities of the JKP.

“We are critical of the first budget proposal and we voiced our concerns,” he said.

Agricultural Minister Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) refused to comment on the initial budget proposal because talks will go on. Gerhards was positive about the fact that additional funds have been found for new priorities. “The National Alliance will continue discussions on increasing wages for culture workers and demography,” said Gerhards.

MP Daniels Pavļuts (For Development/For!) said that different priorities have been named in the 2020 budget context, but it is positive that increase of financing for defense is guaranteed in the previous agreement, therefore no discussions are needed on that. Pavluts said that the main priority of this party will be financing for the health care sector.

Atis Zakatistovs (KPV LV), the Finance Ministry’s parliamentary secretary, who has been indicted for business fraud, underscored that all government parties have voiced a resolution to agree on the 2020 budget.

The prime minister said that on August 20 the cabinet will discuss Latvia’s macroeconomic forecasts, in the context of the 2020 budget.

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