Views from a Neighbor
Feb 21, 2009
By Gustav Plato
LatCham believes it important to share regional perspectives on the economy as well as factors affecting economic growth. Regional perspectives and subsequent discussions offer the greatest potential to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the current economic situation being faced in the region. Only through a shared understanding can a vision and path forward be found.

The following text was translated from Swedish to English from the February 21st Blog of Carl Bildt. He has served as Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs since 6 October 2006. He was formerly Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999.

From Mr. Bildt's Blog:

The Latvian government under Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis resigned yesterday. The pressure of the financial crisis ended up being too hard and finally some of the parties in his government coalition revolted.

The crisis is now hitting with full force against our neighboring country across the Baltic Sea. Prognoses during the past week pointed to the fact that the country’s GDP could drop up to 12% this year.

When visiting Riga a week ago my purpose was to say that political stability is a prerequisite to successful implementation of the sanitation package that both IMF as well as Sweden has supported and partially finances.

At the time, Prime Minister Godmanis was determined to stay the course even though it obviously would not offer short-term popularity. He saw as his task, now equally as important as when he was the first Prime minister of a newly independent Latvia, in a not so easy situation in the beginning of the 1990ies.

However, now the situation is even more insecure. My hope is that it will as fast as possible rebuild a perhaps a more broadly based government that is strongly committed to continue driving through the sanitation politics.

Extended insecurity – for example through re-election – would surely lead to a financial situation that further deteriorates. In the worst case, the development could completely lose control with unpredictable, as well as political, consequences.

There is a heavy responsibility now shouldering the rulers of the different political parties in the country, as well as on President Valdis Zatlers.

Since the dramatic days when the country gained its independence Latvia has in many ways had a very positive and beneficial development. It is now that the independent Latvia’s political strength is truly tested.

The fact that the development has been of great importance also for us and other neighboring countries in the Baltic area goes without saying.

Original Source:

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