On Thursday, July 8, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis met Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk to discuss the bilateral cooperation between both countries and economic situation in the region. During the discussion, both Prime Ministers acknowledged that the relationship between the countries is good and friendly and should be further strengthened and expanded.
Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk noted that Latvia is a positive model for overcoming the economic crisis and the activities implemented by Prime Minister V.Dombrovskis to overcome the crisis are appreciated, because Latvia was in a very difficult situation, but the courageous decisions were taken for improvement of the situation.
During the discussion, the Prime Minister of Latvia informed on the progress in drafting of the next year's state budget, on the current economic situation, as well as on the planned activities by the Government until parliamentary elections in October this year.
The Prime Minister of Poland informed on the economic situation in Poland, indicating that Poland alongside with Slovakia was one of those European Union countries, which suffered the least during the economic crisis, thus demonstrating high fiscal discipline of Poland, as well as the ability to manage the national economy during the crisis.
Prime Minister of Poland D.Tusk expressed his gratitude to Latvian authorities for assistance and participation in liquidation of the flood in Poland. Prime Minister V. Dombrovskis thanked for the support provided in choosing the headquarters location for the office of the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) in Rīga. Moreover, the Prime Minister of Latvia thanked for the airspace patrolling carried out by Poland for already the third time within the framework of the NATO's mission.
V.Dombrovskis expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister of Poland for participation and support regarding the international loan to Latvia, because Poland is also one of the donor countries.
The Prime Minister informed on the latest negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, as well as on Latvia’s decision not to use the available loan in 100% amount, but to make use of a part of the loan granted by the international organizations – the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank. This year Latvia will not use the bilateral loans because the Treasury has sufficient amount of financing and additional borrowing is not currently needed.
D.Tusk expressed his interest in Latvia’s progress in supporting the most vulnerable members of the society during a crisis. The Prime Minister of Poland was also interested in the public sentiment during the economic crisis, as well as in positive outcomes attained while avoiding massive public unrest. V. Dombrovskis said that it is important to ensure a minimum social security network, aimed at supporting the vulnerable – envisaging emergency measures in the area of welfare, employment and health care.
Within the framework of discussion, Prime Minister V.Dombrovskis outlined Latvia’s progress towards the euro currency, setting January 1, 2014 as the date for the transition to the euro in Latvia. V. Dombrovskis also stated that it is planned to meet the Maastricht criteria requirements in 2012. The Prime Minister stressed that the EU decision on the admission of Estonia to the Eurozone is indicative of the fact that the Eurozone is open to new countries. The Prime Minister of Poland informed on the Poland’s plans to join the Eurozone only in 2015 or 2016, partly due to the Polish Constitution, which contains the norms on the Polish currency, and it is expected that there will be the need to amend the Constitution.
The Heads of the Government of both countries also discussed other cooperation forms, emphasizing the cooperation in the area of tourism. Prime Minister V.Dombrovskis urged to extend the cooperation with Poland’s tourism operators, thus promoting the tourism to the Baltic countries. D.Tusk noted that this is of mutual interest, stating that he comes from Gdansk, and would really like to see the Polish tourists visiting the Baltic region. D.Tusk emphasized that he is ready to assist and support the tourism between Poland and the Baltic countries.
Prime Minister of Poland D.Tusk addressed the issue on Polish schools in Latvia, recognizing that there is a successful minority education policy in Latvia. V. Dombrovskis informed about the reforms in the education system, as well as on the introduction of the principle "money follows a student". At the same time, V. Dombrovskis said that as a result of economic slowdown the funding was reduced also for schools and urged the Polish side to support the Polish schools in Latvia. D.Tusk said that Poland is interested in supporting the Polish schools in the Baltic countries, and stressed that Latvia is a good example regarding the Polish citizens’ opportunities in education and culture.
The Prime Ministers also discussed the situation in energy sector, indicating that the project of the Visaginas nuclear power plant is very important, ensuring energy independence, overcoming the isolation and diversifying energy resources.
During the meeting, both Prime Ministers confirmed that the cooperation with the U.S., as well as cooperation within the NATO framework is significant for both countries and will retain its importance also in the future.
At the end of discussion, V.Dombrovskis extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of Poland to visit Latvia and Prime Minister of Poland accepted it with pleasure, stressing that he will use it and will pay a visit to Latvia.
The photos are available in the photo album of the State Chancellery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157624450647074/
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