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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 08.08.2020, 09:13

Levits' priorities during his second term in office will include ATR, information space, technology and development

BC, Riga, 03.07.2020.Print version
President Egils Levits during his next year in office will concentrate on the administrative territorial reform (ATR), Latvia's information space, technology, and economic and environmental development, Levits said at a press conference called on Friday to look back on his first year in office, reported LETA/BNS.

Upon taking office a year ago, President Levits said that his priorities would include solidarity, belongingness, and modern, sustainable state. Today, Levits said that he would continue to work on these priorities.

Levits said this had been a very intense year with a lot going on, including the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic. He said that his foreign policy work would become more active in the near future, as events postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis would finally take place.

Administrative territorial reform will also be very important in the coming year. Local governments must become bigger and more powerful, as well as allow the public to democratically participate in the development of the immediate neighborhoods, said Levits. The president believes that the reform is not optimal, which is why he has made a number of proposals, some of which have been taken into account and some of which were not.

According to the President's Chancery, the president has held a lot of meetings on the administrative territorial reform. Levits is critical of the way in which this reform has been carried out so far, as the reform does not take into consideration matters of cultural and historical affiliation, preservation of the identity of unique cultural areas and local communities. To that end, the president will in the near future submit to Saeima a bill on Latvian historical regions.

The president also said he would pay closer attention to Latvia's information space. Democracy requires quality information that helps citizens see reality and problems more or less accurately, so that they can make informed decisions.

"I support increasing financing for public media, I believe that quality media must be supported during this crisis," said Levits. It is not enough to have information about what is happening in Mexico and Egypt - there also has to be quality information about the developments in different Latvian regions and Riga.

Speaking of technological development, Levits said that Latvia was the first country where the parliament switched to digital meetings. There are several projects in Latvia that need to further evolve to help Latvian companies occupy niche markets, Levits believes.

The president also pointed out that, during his second year in office, he would also focus on economic and environmental development, and emphasized that it was very important for Latvia to become a member of the United Nations Security Council by 2025.

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