On Friday 15 September, the Saeima during its extraordinary sitting gave a vote of confidence to the new Cabinet of Ministers headed Prime Minister Evika Siliņa.
In her address to the Saeima before the vote of confidence in the government, Evika Siliņa emphasised the significance of an individual in the priorities of the new government: “An individual lies at the heart of the Declaration of the Cabinet of Ministers. This means that I and the government team will work to ensure that the people of Latvia – patients, schoolchildren, students, entrepreneurs, moms, dads, grandparents – see that the country works for their benefit and the country is not indifferent or only serving the process. With your confidence, I will take care to ensure that every activity of the government is aimed exactly at this goal – our citizens would feel that the quality of services provided by the state is improving and Latvia is becoming more responsive, humane and fairer. My work will be aimed at ensuring that entrepreneurs feel that they are not burdened with unnecessary bureaucracy, pupils would feel that they receive education enabling them to compete in domestic and foreign universities, a person experiencing violence – that the state is willing and able to protect, a patient – that the queues are becoming shorter, seniors – that they become better socially protected, and every family – that Latvia needs it."
The new government or the 42nd Cabinet of Ministers is composed of:
- Prime Minister Evika Siliņa;
- Minister for Defence Andris Sprūds;
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Krišjānis Kariņš;
- Minister for Economics Viktors Valainis;
- Minister for the Interior Rihards Kozlovskis;
- Minister for Finance Arvils Ašeradens;
- Minister for Education and Science Anda Čakša;
- Minister for Climate and Energy Kaspars Melnis;
- Minister for Culture Agnese Logina;
- Minister for Welfare Uldis Augulis;
- Minister for Transport Kaspars Briškens;
- Minister for Justice Inese Lībiņa-Egnere;
- Minister for Health Hosams Abu Meri;
- Minister for Environment Protection and Regional Development Inga Bērziņa;
- Minister for Agriculture Armands Krauze.
The new government includes the following political parties: “New Unity”, “Greens and Farmers Union” and “The Progressives”.
The new government has set the following priorities: prosperity, security and national defence, promoting the sense of belonging of the Latvian population.
The politicians of the coalition have agreed that Latvia will continue the constant Euro-Atlantic foreign policy course. The national defence budget will be provided at least 3 % of GDP by 2027, and public preparedness for crisis and national threats will be improved within the framework a comprehensive national defence system. The government will also ensure the country’s energy independence and increase the strategic role of the media in promoting security. The government will work to develop the system of law enforcement authorities and improve the legally secure living and investment environment.
The new government is committed to supporting the acquisition of the Latvian language and strengthening the preservation of Latvian culture and traditions, while also ensuring contemporary development. The government will work to improve the situation in education, health, climate and human rights related issues. The government will focus attention on improving the business environment and public services. Public awareness of road safety, accident prevention and maintenance of a safe environment will be promoted, as well as efforts will be made to enhance citizens’ involvement in public and political processes.
The Government Declaration highlights the focus on the development of high-value added services and product industries. It is planned to develop closer cooperation between the public, private, academic and non-governmental sectors. It is intended to promote competitiveness of the economy along with changes in tax policy and improvement of the labour market. In its declaration, the government aims to foster the economy also by investing in sustainable regional development, promoting entrepreneurship, connectivity and mobility of citizens. The capital market will be developed and the representation of civil servants in the boards of capital companies will be reduced.
In addition to these matters, the new government has agreed to address current and urgent issues in a separate memorandum. The coalition partners have committed, for example, to introduce mechanisms to partially offset the increase in electricity costs by the end of this year, to promote competition between banks and to introduce a bank profit tax. It is also planned to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence by the end of this year, to strengthen the framework for couples’ cohabitation and to develop a sustainable model for education funding.