President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs met with Speaker of the Saeima Edvards Smiltēns and chairs of the Saeima parliamentary groups at the Riga Castle on 5 September to discuss legislator’s current autumn session priorities.
During the meeting, President of Latvia emphasised that legislators will have to decide on a number of important issues in the autumn session, including the approval of new Cabinet. ‘I hope regular meetings with leaders of all parliamentary groups represented in the 14th Saeima will become a tradition in this autumn session. There are several important decisions that cannot be delay, but they cannot be adopted without a government that has full mandate,’ President Rinkēvičs said. According to President, adoption of the 2024 government budget will be the main task on Saeima’s agenda, and particular focus will have to be on additional allocation of funding for interior sector, which would include wages.
Parliamentarians will also have to agree on changes in the Law on Financing National Defence to gradually bring defence spending from current 2.5% of the GDP to 3% in future. This gradual increase of defence spending will have significant implications on current education, research and healthcare funding models.
President Rinkēvičs also urged Saeima to find a solution for reducing the pressure of high crediting costs on households and promoting wider lending. Current service pricing system should also be reviewed to ensure balance between needs of clients and government-owned monopolies.
President also reminded that during autumn session Saeima will also have to work on National Security and State Defence strategies, as well as adopting National Digital Security Law. Edgars Rinkēvičs also expects parliament to be more active when it comes to review of penal policy.
‘We need efficient legislature. Legislators must follow the principles of good law-making to avoid having to correct weak laws that have been adopted in a rush, without proper discussions, unnecessarily making public lose trust and misleading everyone about Latvia’s ability to consistent. Saeima must be able to swiftly react to various domestic and foreign policy developments, but that does not mean ‘night sessions’ should become the new normal. I hope parliamentarians will work closely together on making sure our laws are good,’ President Rinkēvičs stressed.
President also urged majority and opposition parties elected to the 14th Saeima to find ways to cooperate in a respectful manner towards each other.