in Latvia Yesterday, 18:2329"We become stronger and wealthier." Kariņš evaluates what he has done in the position of prime minister

By RockedBuzz 13 Min Read

The outgoing Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (JV), looking back at what the government has done, believes that it contributed to energy, national security, healthcare and education.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš participates in a press briefing after meeting with the President of the State in Riga Palace.
Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš participates in a press briefing after meeting with the President of the State in Riga Palace. Photo: Ieva Leiniša/LETA

The outgoing Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (JV), looking back at what the government has done, believes that it contributed to energy, national security, healthcare and education.

As expressed in the prime minister’s office, in Kariņš’s opinion, the second government led by him strengthened the country’s energy independence, continued “significant investments in strengthening national security”, introduced the national defense service, and also started work on the implementation of reforms in health care and education.

“Looking back at the time when the Saeima entrusted me with the duties of the Prime Minister, I can say with satisfaction that Latvia has continued to follow the path of development – despite the challenges created by the financial sector supervision crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, the hybrid attack of the Belarusian authoritarian regime on Latvia border and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we are becoming stronger and wealthier. This must be continued going forward as well,” Kariņš believes.

In the field of internal and external security, the Prime Minister highlights the decisions on the creation of a new military range “Selia”, capacity building of the National Armed Forces, creation of the national defense service, creation of Latvia’s cyber security strategy, creation of the Internal Security Academy and development of the Disaster Management Center (KPC) model.

In addition to this, the construction of the country’s external land border infrastructure on the Latvia-Belarus border, which has often been criticized for being too slow, has continued. Kariņš thinks that the information space has been strengthened under the leadership of his government, including the granting of additional funding to the media to promote public awareness, the broadcasting of public media content without commercial advertisements, and the launch of the Public Electronic Media Council, which oversees them.

In the field of security, the leaders of the governments of the Baltic states have agreed that a year earlier – in February 2025 – the Baltic states will be synchronized with the European energy system, thus ensuring Latvia’s energy independence and security. In this area, Lithuania insists on an even earlier separation of the Baltic energy networks from the Russian networks.

In the field of financial sector regulation, Kariņš emphasizes the confirmation of the elimination of the shortcomings identified in the “Moneyval” report as the most important achievement. Thus, in his opinion, Latvia proved its determination to ensure a stable and transparent financial sector and avoided inclusion in the so-called “grey list”. According to Kariņš, this has helped to overcome the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the economy and provide the necessary support to citizens and companies.

In improving the business environment, the government has approved the outlined directions, capital market development goals, in order to promote the availability of financing for economic growth and promotion of transformation. The developed informative report outlines the further directions of action, also determining the level of share capitalization that should be reached in the next four years, Kariņš presents his vision of the government’s achievements.

According to the politician, in order to achieve economic transformation, several processes have been initiated to improve the business environment. For example, work on the Human Capital Development Strategy has been started and the Human Capital Development Council has been established so that the ministers of economy, welfare, education and science can cooperate inter-ministerially and jointly decide on the necessary labor market adjustments. In this way, it is planned to promote the development of human resources in accordance with the demand of the future labor market and the progress of the national economy towards the creation of higher added value.

Looking back at the field of regional development, the announcement to the media emphasizes the administrative territorial reform (ATR) implemented during the first government of Kariņas. Improvements have also been made in the school network, for example, a new financing model has been introduced. According to this model, it is up to the municipalities themselves to decide what, how big and how busy schools should be developed in the district and how to ensure the optimal remuneration of teachers.

The government has allocated an additional 43.5 million euros to regional and local roads to ensure quality roads connecting parish centers with the new county centers.

2 billion euros have been allocated to the growth of Latvian countryside, and this year the support of the European Commission of 6.8 million euros has been achieved for Latvian agricultural sectors, which were affected by the drop in milk purchase prices, spring frosts or prolonged drought.

In the context of promoting the green course, Kariņš is proud of the deposit system and support program for the use of renewable energy resources in households. The operation of the Modernization Fund, which will support investments to achieve climate and energy goals, has also been approved. The funds of the fund will promote the purchase of emission-free vehicles and the installation of their charging points and the use of renewable energy resources in multi-apartment and public administration buildings.

Kariņš reminds that during this time the joint venture “Latvijas vēja parki” of JSC “Latvenergo” and JSC “Latvijas valsts meži” was established, which must build wind parks by 2030. In this way, it is planned to increase the production of “greener” electricity and promote Latvia’s progress towards climate neutrality.

“Sustainable transport infrastructure is being developed and railways are being strengthened as the backbone of public transport” in Latvia in order to achieve the common green goals of Europe. Train traffic on the Riga-Liepāja route has been restored, and new electric trains and modernized railway stations will also be delivered by the end of 2023. However, the actual use of the new trains is significantly delayed.

Kariņš is proud of the fact that during Kariņš’s government, changes were made to the non-taxable minimum of personal income tax, the guaranteed minimum income threshold was increased, the minimum monthly wage, disability pensions and state social security benefits were raised. The income threshold of a poor and low-income household has been increased and support for orphans and children left without parental care, starting an independent life.

Also, during this time, the support program for the purchase of housing for families with children was expanded and funding for the renovation of multi-apartment residential buildings was increased. Implemented improvements in the rental market, balancing the interests of landlords and tenants and co-financing the allowance paid to tenants of denationalized houses for the release of living space.

Additional funding of 140 million euros has been allocated to the healthcare sector, but other measures have also been taken – a plan to strengthen the hospital network has been developed, improvements have been developed in the field of human resources in the sector, the integrated service of palliative care has been introduced, a unified oncological register has been developed and the “yellow corridor” has been introduced in cases of cancer recurrence . Breast reconstruction surgeries are fully paid for by the state for women, and new, innovative drugs are included in the list of reimbursed drugs for oncology patients.

Also, the procedure for prescribing compensable medications has been changed, amendments have been made to the laws on tobacco circulation and alcohol restriction, additional funding has been found for nursing training, attracting medical and new specialists to Latvia, access to secondary outpatient healthcare and improving the infrastructure of medical institutions, as well as other improvements in the healthcare sector.

In the field of education and science, the transition to a “unified school” has been implemented, with the successive introduction of educational programs in the national language in preschools and primary schools. These changes came into force only a couple of weeks ago, so it is currently difficult to evaluate their success. Additional funding has been allocated to teaching assistants, speech therapists and teachers in extended day groups to assist minority students in the transition to learning in the national language.

Kariņš is proud that during this time the salary of teachers has increased and the workload has been balanced. The lowest monthly salary rates for heads of general education and interest education institutions, as well as education methodologists, have also been increased. During this time, a change in the internal management model of higher education institutions was initiated, by adding individual regional higher education institutions to universities.

According to the objectives of the “State Administration Reform Plan 2020”, a part of the support functions of state administration institutions has been centralized and the number of employees has been reduced by 7.64%. The reform of the Employee compensation system has been approved and is gradually being implemented, and the modernization and digitization of various processes has been achieved.

On the other hand, when Russia started a war against Ukraine, Latvia was from the beginning of this war one of the most active countries that condemned and still condemns Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and advocates a strong international reaction against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says Kariņš.

Latvia has provided all kinds of coordinated political, military, financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine. Provision of the necessary social support to Ukrainian civilians and the continuity of this support has been ensured. Likewise, soldiers returned from Ukraine who fought for Ukraine’s freedom receive health care services in Latvia.

It has already been announced that on Friday, September 15, a session of the Saeima is expected to be convened for the approval of the future government under the leadership of Evikas Siliņa (JV).

Of the 16 positions in the government and the Saeima divided by the newly formed ruling coalition of the parliament, half or eight will go to the future prime minister’s “New Unity” (JV), five to the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS), and three to the “Progressives”.

The current acting minister and head of the outgoing government Krišjānis Kariņš (JV) will officially sit in the chair of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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