Opposition party wants parliamentary approval of new Greek deal

The smallest party represented in Latvia's parliament, or Saeima, is calling for a parliamentary vote to approve any new bailout deal for Greece, potentially making Latvian approval of a massive payout even more problematic than it is.

The opposition For Latvia From The Heart (NSL) party told the BNS newswire it will propose legislative amendments that would prevent the government from contributing to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) loan to debt-ridden Greece without the prior consent of Saeima.

"The NSL parliamentary faction believes that the government must not agree to yet another loan to Greece which most probably will never be repaid. The NSL faction is convinced that the decision about Latvia contributing or not contributing to this financial aid should be made not by the government but by the parliament,” NSL spokesman Valdis Freidenfelds told BNS.

Ironically, NSL positions itself as a slightly left-of-center party but clearly has no sympathy with the left-wing government in Athens. It controls 7 seats in the 100-seat legislature.

NSL has prepared draft amendments to the law on budget and financial management which say that the Latvian finance minister needs to obtain the parliament’s consent to the increase of the statutory appropriations to the ESM and any obligations likely to increase the government debt.

As living standards in Greece are much higher than in Latvia it would be unfair to demand that poorer Latvians should assume the risk of guaranteeing part of the loan to a richer country – Greece, NSL believes, echoing a sentiment often heard on the streets of Riga.

Latvian pensions, for example, are around half the level of Greek pensions, a fact recently pointed out in a report for The Guardian by Latvian journalist Pauls Raudseps.

The Latvian government plans to hold an extraordinary meeting on July 17 to delegate Finance Minister Janis Reirs as the Latvian representative to the talks about the third bailout package for Greece.

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