Funds spending inadequate.
RIGA - In December 2011, the European Commission sent a letter to the Finance Ministry, criticizing Latvia for its record in the absorption of EU funds, reports LETA. The country's highest officials have been informed about the letter's content, and this issue was also on the agenda during a recent meeting among the head of the European Commission Representation in Latvia, Inna Steinbuka, President Andris Berzins, and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity).
On Jan. 12, the letter was also discussed at Riga Castle, where Berzins met with Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee members.
The committee's chairman, Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis, pointed out that the European Commission is not content with Latvia's absorption of EU funds. The figures are extremely low in some areas, even up to one-tenth of the optimum ones. However, he declined to mention these areas.
"The letter is not good. The European Commission is concerned that we are not doing as well as planned," explained the committee's deputy chairman Janis Duklavs.
In early January President Berzins had a meeting with Steinbuka to discuss the process of absorption of the structural funds in Latvia. The officials also discussed the EU funds absorption process within the next EU budget perspective.
Steinbuka told Berzins about the EU's opinion of the reforms being implemented in Latvia. Both officials agreed that Latvia should seek to successfully conclude utilization of structural funds in the current financial projections, which will make it possible for Latvia to seek additional funding in the next perspective.
Steinbuka and Berzins both emphasized, now that the international loan program has concluded, that Latvia should actively invest funds into absorption of EU structural funds, which would help Latvia achieve its strategic goals.