Vitenbergs confirmed as Latvia's new Minister of Economics

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Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, approved Jānis Vitenbergs (KPV.LV party) as the new Minister of Economics on April 2.

Vitenbergs is a relative newcomer having been elected to the Saeima for the first time in October 2018 but has been serving as the Head of the Saeima Commission for National Economy, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy .

In a statement posted on the ministry's website Vitenbergs set his main priority as providing state support to companies impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the development of an economic recovery plan.

"It is clear that in this period of emergency, I have become a minister during a crisis, whose biggest challenge will be, first and foremost, to do whatever is possible so that state aid instruments deliver the expected results of mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic. We already see that the instruments allocated and their conditions need to be constantly improved so that they can protect and cover as many companies and employees as possible," Vitenbergs said.

"Secondly, in parallel, the development of a comprehensive crisis management plan must be started, so that at the moment the emergency situation eases, we can start its implementation and protect Latvia from the depth of the [fianncial] crisis of ten years ago," he added.

69 deputies voted in favor of Vitenbergs' appointment, 6 were against, and there were 2 abstentions.

Born in 1985, Vitenbergs has a degree in tourism managment and prior to becoming a Saeima deputy worked for a catering supplies firm. In his election campaign materials he said "My goal is for people who have gone to cities and abroad to return to life in the countryside."

Former Minister Ralfs Nemiro resigned at the request of the prime minister on March 16 after he lost his high-level security clearance.

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