6 priorities for Latvia's future development

Latvian officials are making a new National Development Plan (NAP) for 2021-2027, reported LSM's Latvian service on June 30. The plan includes six development priority areas. Discussions about the priorities and aims for the next seven years are ongoing in both the community at large and among expert groups.

Six national development priorities are included in the Latvian 2021-2027 NAP:

  • strong families, healthy and active citizens;

  • knowledge and skills for personal and state growth;

  • business competence and material well-being;

  • wholesome living environment and territorial development;

  • culture and sports for an active and fulfilling life;

  • a unified, secure and open society.

Pēteris Vilks, head of the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Center (PKC) said that the experts are currently at work, and so it isn't possible to talk about the priorities of the plan in detail. 

"The making of the plan began last year by the previous administration. We've had many political and expert discussions. We've also travelled quite widely across the country. Currently, we are working on six priority areas. Each of these areas has a group of experts and different non-governmental organizations that come together once a week to discuss. There will also be political discussions through which we hope to arrive at a strategy we'd like to implement and, most importantly, at how we are going to implement it, because this is the main question,” said Vilks.

"Latvian Formula 2050" – this is the name of the association that has been discussing the future development of Latvia. The association has brought together a few well-known figures such as the former Minister President Laimdota Straujuma, President of “LMT” Juris Binde, Chairman of the Board of “SEB banka” Ieva Tetere, as well as Professor of the University of Latvia Mārcis Auziņš. Auziņš said that the association had started discussing the future of Latvia two years ago, as it is crucial to formulate the aims of Latvia's development in the next few years.

"We had a very specific vision, such as regaining independence, becoming a member of NATO and so on.

We have yet to formulate a very clear and easily understandable next step.

At the moment, we are trying, for example, to define the increase in the quality of all for all in the NAP. An admirable goal, but a lot less concrete than joining the EU. We have been active in various discussions both in Riga and outside Riga. The Liepāja City Council wanted to work with us in organizing these discussions, and so did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have actively collaborated with the PKC, and a lot of these discussions were brought about in collaboration with them,” said Auziņš.

The head of PKC Vilks did not deny that representatives of non-governmental organizations, politicians, and experts from different fields have different opinions about the future development of Latvia.

"How do we see, for example, the property market. On the one hand, it is easy to say that we'd like to provide state aid for funding, but at the same time we see that the rental property market does not work. And the key to this is the Rental Law, which should be adopted and clearly defined,” said Vilks. 

The Professor of the University of Latvia and the representative of "Latvian Formula 2050" Auziņš emphasised that it is important to involve the public in discussions about the development of Latvia. In this way, the politicians' vision of the future could be made to coincide with public interests.

"There is a risk that this plan will be a distribution of money from the [European Union] Structural Funds in the next period, so that each ministry could see itself in the plan where each will have its portion, but there should also be a large, unified vision. That's why the association is organizing these discussion, and taking into account the common weal. Because when we do talk about these things, we often tend to push the public aside. The attitude is such that – we, politicians, will now make a plan, and then the ministry is going to implement it. [...] 

If we, as a society, agree on what it is we want to achieve, then those who implement the policy will be unable notto bring this about,” said Auziņš 

It is expected that the NAP for 2021 – 2027 will be submitted to Saeima in October 2019.

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