2020 is no exception and below you can read the text of the address given by Prime Minister Krisjānis Kariņš, reproduced verbatim in the English language version supplied by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Good evening, dear people of Latvia,
Good evening, fellow Latvians across the world whose hearts burn for our dear Latvia,
We say goodbye to this year and welcome a new one. It is a good time to look back on what has been done and think about the future.
We have talented people, beautiful country and rich traditions. My family has a tradition of writing New Year’s Eve letters to relatives about how our year has been and what we expect from the future. That way you become more aware of your achievements and future goals become a lot clearer.
This year began with a lot of political uncertainty. Some of you may have forgotten that after general elections forming of a working government seemed nearly impossible. However, we did it. We formed a wide five-party coalition government which is able to work together and gradually achieve progress in various areas of public sector.
We are making progress towards the main reform goal – better life for all people in Latvia. Efficiency, accountability and transparency in investing taxpayers’ money. I would like to specifically highlight the enormous work we have done to improve the financial sector control system and ensure that financial sector continues to be the backbone for our growth. Thank you to everyone for their tireless and active efforts in getting it done.
I know, not everyone shares the same enthusiasm about reforms proposed by the government. We need criticism. It pushes us to do a better job. Thank you to everyone whose constructive suggestions have contributed to better government decisions. We try to follow these suggestions as much as we can. I am always open to and ready to support a dialogue.
Economically, this has been a year of growth. Wages and overall level of well-being have grown visibly. We have lower unemployment, higher employment level, more and more Latvians are returning home. I have visited many places across Latvia this year and I know that not everyone has benefitted equally from this growth. We must keep working towards further reduction of inequality in our society.
As you know, the world has also faced a lot of uncertainty this year. But the good news is that we are not alone. We have strong allies. We are a reliable partner to our NATO allies. We are a member state of the largest and wealthiest democracy and economy in the world, the European Union. Our international ties help us achieve our national development goals.
What will the 2020 bring? Phase of moderate growth is likely to continue in Latvia and Europe. We will complete regional reform and have clearer local government structure, as well as improved education system and better health care across Latvia. We will continue to strengthen the rule of law through our judicial system, which is essential for any democracy. We have put the era when our country was ruled in narrow interests behind us. Together we can make sure it never happens again.
Latvia has made enormous and notable progress since regaining of independence. We have transitioned from the occupation regime system to market economy, implemented reprivatisation and rebuilt democratic institutions from scratch. After many years of separation, we have fully reintegrated into Europe. We must continue on our path towards higher level of well-being across Latvia, less inequality and more trust towards each other and the government as a whole. Or, as I simply call it, ‘path towards Nordic welfare model’. Towards smart Latvia where climate policy brings numerous opportunities for economic development. Latvia whose science and business community regains its global role. It is not something we can achieve overnight. But I believe that we will achieve it, step by step. I am convinced that we can.
All of us are different in terms of our political beliefs, well-being, social and family status. Some of you share this moment with your friends and some are probably alone, or at least feeling alone. Let us use this moment to appreciate each other.
Together we are Latvia. As our past shows, if Latvians decide something, nothing can stop us. Our strength comes from our unshakable determination to get things done. I encourage all of you to embrace all your love for Latvia and join hands in making Latvia stronger. There is no better time than now. This is our time!
I wish you lots of happiness and good health in the coming year. God bless Latvia!