BNN SUMMARY OF THE WEEK: Officially nominated PM; New posts; No changes in Russia

This week, three weeks after the 14th Saeima officially started performing duties, Latvia’s President Egils Levits decided to officially nominate Krišjānis Kariņš for the post of prime minister.
Although he was officially nominated this week, Kariņš was basically in charge of the government formation process from the very beginning. During these three weeks members of the coalition have touched on topics like the creation of a new ministry, as well as vice-minister posts in ministries. After difficult debates the 14th Saeima finally managed to reach a conceptual agreement on this topic.
The thought of tariffs of different services occupied Latvia’s residents’ minds this week. In this context there was some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Latvia’s PM has ordered the Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Finance to study the possibility of adding corrections to the tariff projects of Augstsprieguma tīkls and Sadales tīkls energy transmission companies. The bad news is that Gaso JSC has announced a new gas distribution service tariff plan. This plan provides for increase of the variable and fixed portion of the tariff by up to 2.1 times.
It is also important to mentioned that the Constitution Protection Bureau presented its third in a series of informative articles about important public topics. In it, the security institution concluded that the possibility of drastic changes in Russia’s political system is very low.
To further battle the fight against Russia and its aggression in Ukraine, the European Union declared the country a state sponsoring terrorism. Work also commenced on the ninth package of sanctions. This time it is planned to focus on sectors that «hurt the most».
BNN gives you a summery of the most relevant events of the past week in the following topics: Officially nominated; New posts; Review the tariffs; Payments will go up; No more lessons; No changes in Russia; New prison; Sanctions.
Latvia’s president officially nominates Krišjānis Kariņš for prime minister’s post
Photo: Ieva Leiniša/LETALatvia’s President Egils Levits has officially nominated New Unity leader Krišjānis Kariņš for the post of prime minister.
Levits announced Kariņš’s nomination at at press-conference on Tuesday, 22 November. He confirmed the document will be signed in the next 24 hours.
Kariņš and his party New Unity have been basically in charge of the government formation process since the end of 14th Saeima elections in October as the party that gained the majority of votes. Other parties agree that New Unity should take charge of the government formation process.
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Latvian Saeima conceptually supports creation of vice-minister seats and a new ministry despite objections from deputies
Photo: Reinis Inkēns, Saeima administration/FlickrOn 24 November the Saeima set urgency and conceptually passed amendments to the State Administration Structure Law necessary to implement the ruling coalition’s plan for new vice-minister posts. The parliament set urgency and conceptually passed amendments to the Cabinet Structure Law necessary to compose a new ministry in the country.
In order to pass amendments, the parliament will need to vote in the second and final reading, which is planned to be done on 1 December.
During debates Progressive Party (P) member Edmunds Cepurītis said the climate policy in Latvia currently lacks a single supervisory body. He believes creation of a new Ministry of Energy and Climate would not be an effective solution, as this initiative provides for separating the environment and climate policies from one another.
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Latvian PM requests corrections of electricity distribution tariff projects
Photo: Ēriks Rassudkovs/FlickLatvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has ordered the Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Finance as shareholders of Augstsprieguma tīkls (AT) and Sadales tīkls (ST) to consider the possibility of adding corrections to the two companies’ prepared service tariff projects.
The PM stresses that electricity costs have a major impact on the growth of the national economy. This is why he has ordered ministries to prepare and submit reports to the government on the possibility of adding corrections to the tariffs. The resolution mentions that ministries have until 20 December to prepare and submit their respective reports.
Additionally, the PM ordered ministries to consider the possibility of waiving the recovery of lost revenue for the period from 2020 to 2022, as well as fixate the electricity price if possible, considering that it forms a portion of the companies’ operational costs. Ministries are to keep in mind the ability of operators to continue performing their duties efficiently after the possible corrections of tariffs.
As previously reported, Sadales tīkls electricity distribution operator plans to increase their tariff by 75%.
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Gaso plans to increase service tariffs in Latvia next year
Photo: Zane Bitere/LETALatvian gas distribution system operator Gaso JSC has submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (SPRK) new gas distribution service tariffs. The new tariff plan provides for an increase of the fixed and variable part of the tariff.
The announcement was published in the Latvian Herald. Consumers will see an increase of tariffs by 5% depending on their respective consumer gas volume (without VAT). It is entirely possible, however, tariffs may increase 2.1 times.
The variable portion of the tariff will increase in accordance with their seasonal gas consumption volumes. For users who picked a specialised tariff and consume between 2 635.1 to 263 450 kWh of gas every year, tariffs are planned to be tripled – from 11.2379 EUR/MWh to 34.0287 EUR/MWh. Specialised tariffs are available to users whose May-November consumed gas volume is 85% or more of the object’s annual consumed gas volume. Clients with seasonal gas consumption are not applied with the tariff’s fixed portion.
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Latvian Ministry of Education proposes replacing Russian language with EU languages in schools
Photo: Sintija Zandersone/LETAThe Ministry of Education and Science in Latvia has plans to replace Russian language in foreign language lessons with official EU languages in schools starting with 2026/2027 school year, as confirmed by the ministry.
This means it will no longer be possible to learn Russian language as second foreign language in schools. The ministry explains that this is because this language is neither an official EU language, nor are there any interstate agreements in place to provide this option.
The ministry claims these changes will motivate youngsters to fully join the European education space, promote teaching of official EU languages, which, in turn, opens the way for wider employment options in the EU and outside its borders.
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SAB: change of power in Russia due to Putin’s failing health or coup is unlikely
Photo: AP/SCANPIX/LETASince February 2022 different mass media outlets have been reporting more and more claims and assumptions regarding possible political changes within Russia’s power system, predicting, for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin losing power or Russia collapsing economically or regionally, notes Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB).
On Thursday, 24 November, SAB published the third article from its series of analytical articles about different important societal issues. This time SAB offers comments about the stability of Vladimir Putin’s regime and analyses the possibility of different political changes.
According to SAB, Russia’s political system has been relatively stable for a long time, but the war in Ukraine, its length, as well as Ukraine’s and the west’s resistance have only increased tension in society and among the political elite. The regime employs various tactics to preserve the status quo, but this also causes long-term risks.
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Latvian minister: now is the best time to build that prison
Mock-up of the future Liepaja Prison. Photo: Latvian Ministry of JusticeMinister of Justice in the departing but still serving Latvian government Jānis Bordāns is happy: one of his political priorities will be implemented. On Tuesday, 22 November, Latvia’s government signed the contract for the construction of a new prison in Liepaja This new correctional facility is set to open its doors to «guests» in September 2025.
«This is the infrastructure vital to ensure continued existence of any country. This infrastructure is intended to keep society safe and make sure crime rate is low. The state must take care of its children so that each and every one of them growth up to become a proper and respected member of society. We also have to take care of the people who have ended up in trouble or have created problems for others. We have to preserve each member of society as best we can,» stresses Bordāns.
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European Union prepares ninth packet of sanctions
Photo: FlickrEuropean Union prepares to release the ninth packet of sanctions against Russia as an answer to heavy attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, writes Reuters.
On 24th of November, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen held a press conference with the prime ministers of Finland and Estonia and the deputy prime minister of Sweden and told the media that the ninth packet of sanctions is on the way. Von der Leyen didn’t disclose details about the measures of new sanctions. She told that the EU is working hard and will make sure that the new round of sanctions will hit hard and will be an obstacle for Russia to continue its barbaric war in Ukraine.
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