Tag Archives: Latvia


Pedro Ballesteros, European Commission

Pedro Ballesteros, European Commission

At the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Latvia, the lead partner of INTERREG IVC co-financed project „GreenIT Network Europe” uniting 11 partners , among them local authorities –  Rome ( Italy), Manchester (UK), networks of businesses  like the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce (Spain), a public-private partnership consortium “Green IT Amsterdam Region” (The Netherlands), University of Lund Cluster 55 and many more –introducing the  best practice portal ( www.greenitnet.com ) on information and communication technologies to improve energy efficiency .

There are currently more than 80 best practices in data centre energy efficiency and for housing

Claudio BORDI, city of Rome

Claudio BORDI, city of Rome

and transport, and industrial facilities. The event was opened by the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the European Union , Deputy Ambassador  Mr Juris Stalmeistars and Ms Olga Veidiņa, Riga City Councillor, Chair of the Management Board of Riga Sustainable Energy Action Plan, amongst participants were mayors, representatives of local governments , the European networks of local authorities, experts, European Commission representatives  as project partners.

Participants were introduced to the INTERREG IV C program supported project, best practice database and the transfer experience to other municipalities . It is expected that the portal will gather many the best practices of local governments, private and public – private partnerships in four areas – energy efficiency of information and communication technologies in housing and public buildings , transport, industry and energy production and distribution.

The participants

The participants

We interviewed Claudio BORDI, of Roma, one of the great players on this program:


Yesterday, the European Commission published its 2013 Convergence Report on Latvia, together with a citizen’s summary that briefly explains the report and the rationale behind it. The Commission concludes that Latvia has achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence with the euro area and proposes that the Council decide on Latvia’s adoption of the euro as from 1 January 2014.


Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro said, “Latvia’s experience shows that a country can successfully overcome macroeconomic imbalances, however severe, and emerge stronger. Following the deep recession of 2008-9, Latvia took decisive policy action, supported by the EU-IMF-led financial assistance programme, which improved the flexibility and adjustment capacity of the economy within the overall EU framework for sustainable and balanced growth. And this paid off: Latvia is forecast to be the fastest-growing economy in the EU this year.”

He added: “Latvia’s desire to adopt the euro is a sign of confidence in our common currency and further evidence that those who predicted the disintegration of the euro area were wrong.”

The Convergence Report concludes a positive assessment of Latvia’s economic performance against the convergence criteria set out in the EU Treaty as follows:


The average inflation rate in Latvia in the 12 months to April 2013 was 1.3%, well below the reference value of 2.7%, and it is likely to remain below the reference value in the period ahead. While short-term factors (notably the VAT cut last July) have contributed to the particularly low current level of inflation, the analysis of underlying fundamentals and the fact that the reference value has been met by a wide margin support a positive assessment of the fulfilment of the price stability criterion. Latvia will need to remain vigilant to keep inflation at a low level, including by maintaining a prudent fiscal policy and keeping domestic demand on a sustainable path.

Public finances (deficit and debt)

The general government deficit-to-GDP ratio reached 8.1% in 2010, but decreased to 1.2% in 2012 and is projected to remain at 1.2% in 2013 according to the Commission’s latest Spring Forecast. The general government debt stood at 40.7% of GDP at end-2012. The Commission considers that the excessive deficit has been corrected in a credible and sustainable way and has recommended that the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) close the excessive deficit procedure for Latvia (see MEMO/13/463). If this is done, Latvia will fulfil the criterion on the government budgetary situation.

Interest rates

Latvia’s average long-term interest rate over the year to April 2013 was 3.8%, below the reference value of 5.5%. The spreads vis-à-vis euro area long-term benchmark bonds have been declining markedly since 2010, which reflects market confidence in Latvia.

Exchange rate

The Latvian lats has participated in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) since 2 May 2005, which is considerably more than the minimum two years. When it joined ERM II, the Latvian authorities committed to keep the lats within a ±1% fluctuation margin around the central rate. During the two years preceding this assessment, the lats exchange rate did not deviate from its central rate by more than ±1% and it did not experience tensions.

Other factors have also been examined, including balance of payments developments and integration of labour, product and financial markets. Latvia’s external balance adjusted significantly during the crisis, supported also by improvements in its external competitiveness. Latvia’s economy is well integrated within the EU economy through trade and labour market linkages, and it attracts sizeable levels of foreign direct investment. The integration of the domestic financial sector into the EU financial system is substantial, mainly due to a high level of foreign ownership of the banking system.

Finally, Latvia’s legislation in the monetary field is compatible with EU legislation.

This assessment is completed by the European Central Bank’s (ECB) own convergence report, also published today.


Throughout the crisis, Latvia has successfully managed a difficult macro-economic adjustment process. Determined implementation of the EU-IMF-led financial assistance programme helped the country to steer out of a deep recession and to return to economic growth.

According to the EU Treaty, the Commission and the ECB report every two years or upon request by a Member State with a derogation on the subject. On 5 March this year, Latvia formally asked the Commission to deliver an extraordinary convergence report with the aim of joining the euro from 1 January 2014.

The conditions for euro adoption consist of four stability-oriented economic criteria regarding the government budgetary position, price stability, exchange rate stability and convergence of long-term interest rates which need to be fulfilled in a sustainable manner. National legislation on monetary affairs must also be in line with the EU Treaty.

According to the Treaty, additional factors also have to be taken into account in the assessment (balance of payments, market integration) as indicators that the integration of a Member State into the euro area will go ahead without problems and to broaden the view on the sustainability of convergence.

ECOFIN Council will take the final decision on the adoption of the euro in Latvia in July, after the European Parliament has given its opinion, euro area Finance Ministers have given a recommendation and EU leaders have discussed the subject at the European Council meeting on 27-28 June.

The procedure will be fully completed once the Council of Ministers, acting by unanimity of its euro area Member States and Latvia, has irrevocably fixed the exchange rate of the lats to the euro.



The european commissionner  Androulla Vassiliou today announced letland will join the Eurozone in just about 6 mothns on january 1st 2014. It will be the 18th country to join the €.


European Commissionner Olli Rehn

The european commissionner  Olli Rehn who deals with Euro-enlargment said that LATVIA is an exemplary country.

So 6 months to wait for the Latvians and they’ll join the great Euro-familly !


SAINKT-PETERSBURG: EU-commissionner for regional policy Johannes HAHN gave today a speech in Sankt-Petersburg (Russia) about “environment as key issue of the baltic cooperation strategy”

Johannes Hahn

Here is what he said today in front of russian prime minister D. Medvedev:

“Prime Minister Medvedev,

Your Excellencies,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I will never forget my first day as EU Commissioner for Regional Policy. It was the Baltic Sea Action Summit in Helsinki back in February 2010. I could not have had a better introduction to the crucial impact regional action can have and the importance of regions working together to achieve common goals.

So I am delighted to be here once again to represent President Barroso, and we are all grateful to our Russian hosts for the excellent organisation of this important event.

It is important because environmental challenges do not recognise man-made borders. Climate change, pollution, and natural disasters all require that we join our efforts at local, regional and national level – and with our international partners.

The truth is that nature does not need mankind – but mankind cannot advance without nature. Good environmental management is central to modern economic development.

The marine environment of the fragile Baltic Sea is key to the prosperity and well-being of all our people. That is why it is at the heart of the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. And why it is the core of co-operation between the EU and Russia in this region, through HELCOM and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership.

The EU Baltic Sea Strategy is a relatively young initiative providing a new form of co-operation between the countries of the region. It allows particularly the EU Member States around the sea basin to plan strategically together and maximise the impact they can achieve with the public and private funds available.

As we develop and refine this new way of working together, it is clear to me that the dominant focus must remain our common interest in saving the sea. Without this, our two other chief concerns, connecting the region and building prosperity, make little sense.

It is still early days, but we can already claim some important progress through the EU Strategy. We have stimulated commitments to phase out the phosphates in detergents that contribute to eutrophication. We have mobilised farmers to adopt better practice to avoid pollution of the sea. And we have launched pilot investments in nutrient removal in four key municipal wastewater treatment plants.

To be successful, we need to work together. We need the full support of all the stakeholders involved in areas that have an impact on the environmental condition of the sea.

Of course, co-operation with Russia is of paramount importance. We look forward to strengthening our work together – including through the Baltic Sea Region programme, in which I hope Russia will soon become a full partner.

Our cooperation has intensified in recent years as Russia has moved to modernise its environmental policies. The personal commitment of Prime Minister Medvedev and President Putin has been key in prioritising work in this field – with 2013 named a Year of Environmental Protection. The EU particularly welcomes the programme for environmental protection till 2020 adopted last year.

This is an essential partnership – driven by common interests and objectives. But it is one in which we will be judged by results. The high level participation here today speaks for the determination and political commitment there is to ensure we protect the heart of this region. However, our will to succeed must be translated into actions and I look forward to the next HELCOM ministerial meeting later this year that will review progress and decide on the next steps to be taken.

And, while we are thinking ahead, let me also invite you all to the next annual forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region which will be held in Vilnius on 11-12 November.

Prime minister, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

We are all here today because we believe in co-operating across borders to find pragmatic solutions to the challenges we face. We have already achieved a lot. Let’s stay ambitious, and ensure that we pass a better place to live and work to those who come after us.”

the baltic sea

the baltic sea