Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 24.08.2019, 14:44

OECD’s review shows Latvian main problems

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 04.06.2019.Print version

New OECD-2019 review requires from the Latvian government urgent actions in dealing with numerous modern challenges: can it deliver?

Present OECD recommendations, compared to the previous two years ago*), cover in addition to the economic development survey some reflections on environmental issues and sustainability. The OECD experts are right: Latvia needs a fresh push: from new guidance in economic policy to bio-circular and sustainability’s approaches.


 *) Eteris E. “OECD’s economic survey for Latvia: better policies for better lives”, 

in:

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=133804&ins_print

 

Actually, most of the issues covered by the OECD analysis**) are not far away from the previous assessments of 2017: probably the first one has been even more profound; may be because it was a first independent assessment of Latvian socio-economic development in modern time. Besides, not much happened during two years in Latvian political economy, i.e. for about a year the establishment has been involved in the Saiema’s elections and later on in the forming of a new government. Probably, a couple of reforms did occur: e.g. in SMAs taxation and regional consolidation, to name a few.


Actually, I think that Latvian political establishment doesn’t need any “assessments”; the elites are quite aware of the existing political economy’s problems –and even the ways to deal with them! In parties’ programs last fall I’ve seen plenty of right and progressive promises.


A great puzzle is: why the “political economists” don’t just do what they have to and what is required; why not to formulate priorities and slowly but persistently implement them?! Well, these are seemingly quite rhetoric questions…

 

**) Note: the OECD documents can be seen in the OECD’s web-link at: http://www.oecd.org/economy/latvia-economic-snapshot/

as well as in:

https://oecdecoscope.blog/2019/05/29/latvia-working-towards-stronger-and-more-inclusive-growth/, and http://www.oecd.org/environment/country-reviews/oecd-environmental-performance-reviews-latvia-2019.htm.

 

Inquisitive readers can make their “independent analysis” separately, while comparing the OECD “evaluations” (the Latvian yearly taxpayers’ price for being an OECD member is about $ 300 million) with the country’s realities. However, a short digest is available to serve as a helping hand (see in the BC’s rubric “Modern EU” my article: Eteris E. “Tackling Latvian economy and sustainability: OECD’s assessment”, 

in:

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/modern_eu/?doc=149553&ins_print 

 

I think it is important to draw readers’ attention to something else, i.e. the new global and EU ideas about so-called perspective growth in the states. Latvian authorities have two main responsibilities: one is internal, i.e. peoples’ wellbeing (in this way the state’s tasks are formulated in Latvian constitution), the other one is international, which is about climate change and sustainability. There are some “instruments” to implement the first Latvian liability and that task is not complicated: as it is purely within the national political economy’s drive. Here the representative democracy has a lot of recipes how to achieve positive results.


More complicated is the second one, where the global and the EU strategies often serve as stumble blocks in national development: all the efforts need additional financing.


From the EU side, there are two main “instruments”: the EU’s general 2020-strategy (there is even “sectoral” strategy, i.e. the “long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050”. There is as well a sub-regional one –the EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy, EUBSRS (during 11-13 June it will celebrate a decade in existence).


All these issues in detail are described in my recent book: 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. Reviewed in: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/book_review/?doc=145602;


Besides, on “strategic energy vision” by 2050 see:

https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-strategy-and-energy-union/2050-long-term-strategy

 

No doubt, that specifically challenging is the global aspect in Latvian growth: at the end of 2015 –during the UN General Assembly –Latvian President and the Prime Minister signed a Declaration on sustainable development goals (SDGs); they promised to implement these goals (as well as other 192 states) by 2030. It is a serious Latvian international liability: the world will judge country’s achievements according to SDGs and Latvian prestige in the world greatly depends on it.


What is at stake here?  The global “message” is that countries around the world –Latvia included- have to define the national priorities according to the following scheme: quality of life, sustainable economy, food quality, fossil free energy mix, sustainable cities and bio-diversity in resources.


Is Latvia’s establishment ready for such priorities? The country’s global prestige is at stake… 

 





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