Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 17.10.2019, 09:16

Latvian 2050 strategy: a complicated endeavor

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 09.04.2019.Print version

Latvian establishment wishes to compose the country’s strategy up to 2050. The noble task is full of specific problems and difficult solutions to take…

An idea of a long-term “developmental doctrine” formulating Latvian 2050 strategy will undoubtedly include both the analysis of the conceptual issues in the perspective growth and more specific aspects of the strategy’s implementation. In short, the long-term strategy is expected to show a “big picture” of progressive national development alongside tactical and short-term planning initiatives.

Besides, before the final adoption, the strategy should be publicly discussed and evaluated to form a broad public support; otherwise any strategy is useless…     

The initial “doctrine”

Our magazine has acquired an initial draft of the LV-2050 Strategy prepared by the scientists and economists from the Latvian University called “Latvijas Valsts Attistibas Vadlinijas-Doctrina Laika Periodam Lidz 2050. Gadam”.

Each “doctrine’s” component describes the already existing Latvian political economy’s theories and practice. Thus, “competitive social development” (3.1. in the doctrine) enumerates a set of indexes available in the governance models: e.g. safety, happiness, health care, etc. Such an “index-approach” does not give a room for any strategic thinking; social dimension in Latvian growth has to include these indices in the every-day’s governance without any specific strategy. Other parts of the “doctrine” include such “common” national development issues as economic growth, infrastructure, state management, labour market, pollution, etc.

They reflect traditional approaches to economics without a due respect for modern trends like digitalisation, AI, robotics, etc. It is on these new researching guidelines that the country’s competitive edge shall be defended and on which the public authorities shall build their growth perspectives!     

Modern approaches available in contemporary governance theories provide some thoughts for non-traditional and therefore more optimistic vision of Latvian future.  

Terminology used

The structure of the initial strategy’s draft has raised some doubts as to the drafters’ proper understanding of the strategy’s meaning and content. Thus, generally, a strategic approach is to include most vital and essential ideas about perspective development; in the present situation – the Latvian growth with “strategic national goals”. In this sense, the concept of a strategy and doctrine can be taken together…

However, it is appropriate too to specify the terminology used in the draft: a doctrine shall be seen as a set of assumptions which represent a line of political economy’s actions to reach a general aim; however, a strategy shall be a set of action and consequential commitments, consistent with doctrine, and driven by the unique national conditions used to reach the final strategic goals. Finally, the tactics is about short-term actions featuring actual national plans and schedules in the implementation process.

In this way, doctrines often shape strategies; the former is about the general purpose and task, like for example in a military or a diplomatic doctrine.   

Some old but still relevant terminology clarification can be of assistance: see, for example:  https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2007/09/24/strategy-tactics/

Strategy’s methodology

Within the national strategy’s complexity, there are usually formulated some “goals” and the concrete implementing parameters, so-called “flagship initiatives”. Thus some long-term prognosis (like the present LV-2050 strategy) tends to include rather “futuristic” initiatives; however, such strategies shall be in line with the national strategic goals; the latter are specified in the Latvian constitution as the peoples’ wellbeing.  

With this in mind, the “realistic strategy” shall formulate the so-called “ever-lasting priorities”, such as employment, constant growth (based on sustainable development and circular economy’s patterns), education and culture, as well as reducing inequality and rising standards of living.

The reason that a national strategy shall include only a limited number of Latvian goals for 2050 is that these goals shall serve as a managerial orientation for the national authorities (mainly, for the legislative and executive branches) in finding their own appropriate means in delivering the goals through “sectoral” initiative. The ministries and other public authorities know better the resource they have at hand to implement the strategic developmental directions. 

However, in the present form the initial draft of the “doctrine” looks like an enumeration of possible issues (taken at random) relevant to almost all national planning structures without taking into account perspective Latvian developmental practice.

Besides, a true strategy shall include tasks for socio-economic sectors to address and reveal most perspective and most probable lines of national growth responsive to peoples’ wellbeing and welfare. At least in theory, a strategy shall provide the citizens with a “collective vision” of Latvian perspective development. 

Strategy’s goals

The national long-term goals, as a rule, shall consist of 3-4 mutually reinforcing priority items: by definition, the strategy’s directions cannot be numerous. For example, the EU’s first strategy for 2000-2010 contained two goals oriented for jobs and growth; the following EU-2020 strategy consists of three main goals oriented towards innovative, green and socially inclusive growth in the member states.

More in: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/pdf/enea/general_comments.pdf   

The next EU-2030 strategy to be adopted somewhere during the coming years and shall contain other priority items (different from the previous strategies), which are supposed to be included into the Latvian national strategy as well; hence, Latvian-2050 strategy shall take stock of these Union’s priorities.   

Therefore, besides some priorities (and strategic goals) there should be headline targets serving as benchmarks. We suggest the following strategic goals in the LV-2050:

- Sustainable development an innovative (“smart”) growth;

- Optimal economic governance in digital society;

- Regional development, manufacturing sector’s orientations and quality of food; 

- Innovative start-ups and entrepreneurship.


Global and European challenges in Latvian strategy

New strategy that the Latvian future growth up to 2050 shall be seen through two challenges: a) the existing global and European challenges, and b) through the national developmental narrative for the prospective political economy’s guidelines.

Some visions on Latvian perspective growth was formulated in a recent publication devoted to the Latvian centenary prepared under the Latvian Science Academy President’s scientific guidance . The Academy’s vision is in line with the prospective EU’s guidance concerning the need for sustainability, circular economy and smart specialisation.  

See: Eteris E. Latvia in Europe and the world: growth strategy for a new centennial. –Zinatne Publish., Riga, Latvia. 2018. – 208 pp. ISBN 978-9934-549-55-7; for example, the book’s chapters in Part III).   

Reviewed in: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/book_review/?doc=145602;


No doubt the LV-2050 strategy is going to be a unique combination of the specific long-term guidelines (strategy itself) and numerous short-term (tactical) follow-up planning instruments; the “Baltic Course Magazine” will follow the LV-2050 Strategy’s development.





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