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Mayor warns EU Presidency will cause traffic chaos

Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs warned Thursday of "massive" traffic problems in the city that can be expected as a result of Latvia's six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Speaking on LTV, Ušakovs predicted that the main area of gridlock would be on the Pārdaugava side of the River Daugava around the new National Library building which is hosting dozens of events linked to the Presidency.

Riga residents should expect massive traffic jams on a regular basis during the first six months of the year, he said.

"During the first half of the year, while Latvia has the Presidency of the EU, we are not planning to carry out any repair work in Pārdaugava. The only way to get around there would be by helicopter," he ironised.

In a separate move, the mayor sharply criticised parliament's decision on Wednesday not to provide €15m to help subsidise transport costs for non-Riga residents using the capital's public transport system.

"Yesterday's parliamentary vote may be perceived simply as a spit in the face of Rigans and blatant humiliation of the residents of the capital," Ušakovs said.


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