On Wednesday, December 14, morning, all the candidates for the post of minister gathered in the Saeima to sign the government declaration. According to it, the new government aims to transform the economy for a better life in Latvia.
“The human is the main value of Latvia, so we all need to mobilize for economic growth that will improve life for ourselves and for future generations,” the intro says. The economy will be transformed through changes in five priority areas: security, education, energy, competitiveness, and quality of life.
On Twitter, the political scientist Iveta Kažoka called the new government's declaration a “shopping list” with 328 points, among which good ideas are mixed with small jobs and texts whose meaning is not discernible.
At the beginning of the process of writing the declaration, the new Minister for Health, Līga Meņģelsone (United List), took part in it as the head of the Latvian Employers' Confederation (LDDK). She said that the document was very declarative and it was not easy to get through to the working groups drawing up the declaration.
“Yes, we [LDDK] broke in with variable success in each group, but it was a Bermuda triangle. All our economic proposals, which were also on twenty-two pages - very many good proposals, simply disappeared somewhere. And what we would like to know [..[ is why. There are arguments? All right. But it was [declined] simply without arguments, and it was quite demotivating,” Meņģelsone said.
The political scientist Kažoka highlighted, for example, the following promise of the declaration: “Let us ensure the protection of the rights and interests of people living together in a single household, regardless of sex and age.”
Minister for Justice Inese Lībiņa-Egnere (New Unity), responsible for the rule of law, said that this text was a joint work of three partners: "This is a compromise of a compromise. I don't like this point, I offer it completely differently – about protecting all families. But this is a compromise. I see the execution of the Constitutional Court judgment under it."
Kažoka also pointed out the pledge to introduce the European green deal towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050, at the same time making Latvia's competitiveness in the region a priority.
The first climate and energy minister, Raimonds Čudars (JV), believes that everything is right: "The green course is not at odds with Latvia's competitiveness. In the case of the situation, it is the rules of the Green Deal that apply in general in our common economic space in the European Union, and we must count on the fact that the Green Deal is not a barrier factor, but a contributing factor for the economy. There is no contradiction there"
The ministry headed by Čudars also has energy under it, which in the government declaration is referred to as the “engine for economic transformation”. Competitiveness, on the other hand, is a “guarantee for economic transformation”.
Economics Minister Ilze Indriksone (National Alliance) is one of three ministers who will continue to work in the new government. She considered “economic transformation” chosen for the guiding theme of his declaration to be successful.
“Yes, I think it is certainly appropriate to the situation, because it is simple to reallocate the resources that we have, but we need to make more resources available so that everyone can live better and have sufficient resources for both education and health, since the economic transformation is key,” Indriksone said.
Defense Minister Ināra Murniece (NA) said that the declaration also contains “stained value settings” that depend on the viewpoint, without naming any specific ones.
The defense section in the document is very clear, said Mūrniece: "The security section on national protection is one of the most concrete and, let me say, the shortest in this government declaration. These points are very precise."
De Facto also quizzed some ministers on what the declaration names the main value of Latvia (the human), what is the "motor" of economic transformation (energy), or the "foundation" (security and education).
Minister for Agriculture Didzis Šmits (AS) thinks Latvia's main value is "people and natural resources and their successful use”.
On the other hand, the Minister for Education and Science, Anda Čakša (JV), named freedom and democracy as the main value, and "a smart human and innovation" as the foundation.
The Interior Minister Māris Kučinskis (AS) said immediately that Latvia's main value is human, but admitted he had not studied the declaration: “No, I would have said it without the declaration.”
When asked about the “economic transformation motor”, Kučinskis said, “Prime Minister, probably.”
Still, though it appears that not everyone is on the same page, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in the first press conference after the approval of the government, said: “This does not mean that action will be more difficult, but perhaps we have already discussed and understood a lot of issues, as far as we can agree, and where it is not easy to spend time trying to convince each other at the moment, but let it take a little while that we work better and then gradually raise another issue, which we have not yet agreed upon.”