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Mantautas Paskevicius, Country Manager of Strategic Staffing Solutions International
The December luncheon was the third time Prime Minister Dombrovskis has addressed AmCham since he has been on the post.
The Prime Minister reflected upon the accomplishments of his current government and shared his future vision for Latvia. He delivered a macroeconomic overview, elaborated on the adoption of the Euro and spoke on Latvia-US relations.
He also took a number of questions ranging from the Eurozone crisis and introduction of the Euro to demography, healthcare and education, from corruption and shadow economy to gender equality and public sector reforms.
The Prime Minister said that the economic situation has been gradually improving and now is at rapid growth. As a result of increased exports and manufacturing, Latvia has become the fastest growing economy in Europe. The government’s forecast of the economic growth is 3.7 % for 2013, which, according to the Prime Minister, reflects quite cautious approach.
Prime Minister Dombrovskis is assured that Latvia should introduce the Euro in 2014. “We will be net gainers from joining the Eurozone,” he told. Although the public has become more skeptical, he doesn’t believe in conducting a referendum about the matter. He believes Latvia has already committed to implementing the Euro after the people took the decision to join the EU in 2003. The Prime Minister thinks the introduction of the Euro has been often mixed up with the debt crisis of certain Eurozone countries. However, it is being dealt with by specific instruments that have been introduced recently through the EU Stability and Growth Pact. Prime Minister Dombrovskis is certain that the situation will be solved soon and there is no doubt about the future of the Euro. “We believe the Eurozone is dealing with the crisis, having seen markets calm down. Our economy is hugely interlinked with the rest of Europe. We are dependent on the EU, with whom our trade constitutes about 70%. In fact, we are already widely using the Euro,” he said.
Speaking about Latvia-US relations, the Prime Minister admitted they are in good shape. However, while Latvia enjoys close and productive political and military relationship with the US, it should look to intensify and improve the economic relations. “We highly appreciate the strategic partnership between Latvia and the US in the political and military sphere, and now it’s time to transfer this partnership to a stronger and broader trade and business cooperation," said the Prime Minister.
Membership is an attestation that we belong to the modern Latvian business community.
Dace Silava-Tomsone, Managing Partner, COBALT