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Economic confidence, linguistic caution

By Anatol Steven. 04.01.2012

PM Valdis Dombrovskis
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In New Year speeches, Dombrovskis stresses fiscal achievements, Bērziņš dismisses referendum

Latvia has overcome the financial crisis, the Latvian Prime Minister declared in his speech on New Year’s Eve. Valdis Dombrovskis also took the opportunity to urge the public to take part in the upcoming referendum on the official language in Latvia.
The prime minister’s main message was that Latvia has reason to feel that a good job has been done and that fiscal consolidation has been completed, as recounted by the newswire Baltic News Service.
“Tonight we can say with pride that the Latvian nation has acted wisely and considerately, has overcome the financial crisis, and has renewed national economic growth,” he declared.
“A tough but significant stage in Latvia’s history has been completed. We have to take these lessons with us into the future. Politicians may make decisions that are good in the short term but irresponsible in the long term. We have learned that we can achieve good results if we concentrate resources, act rationally and are ready for change.
“The economy has been restructured, the budget has been arranged, the state administration has been downsized. We are ready for further growth that will ensure the nation’s welfare. Today the future of our country is much more stable than in many other European countries,” he said.
However, Dombrovskis stressed that there was no reason to feel self-satisfied. More work has to be done to ensure stable and sustainable economic growth in the future, he said.
“Latvia’s place is not in the suburbs of Europe, not on its eastern bridge, but in the core leading Europe forward. Europe is Latvia’s geopolitical environment and we have common values,” he said.
The prime minister also urged all Latvian citizens to express their opinions in the upcoming referendum in February. This was initiated last year when a campaign collected signatures in support of adding Russian as a second state language in Latvia. Dombrovskis said that “the Latvian language is and will be the foundation of our identity as well as our trust in the country’s democracy and independence.”

Stop emigration
In his own address to the nation on the first of January, Latvian President Andris Bērziņš called on politicians to work harder to stop emigration. Otherwise, he warned, the constitutional foundations of the Latvian state – its territory, language, democracy – may be altered.
“These have been written in our compatriots’ blood. To change them would mean to abolish the country and leave Latvians without a Latvia,” he said.
The president said that he would not take part in the language referendum in February because it is “an absurd enterprise”. A vote to accept another state language would amount to a vote against Latvia as a state, he said.

[pictured: Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis; photo by Toms Norde, Valsts kanceleja]


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