Kariņš: EU investment must strengthen the economies of member states in order to overcome the consequences of Covid-19
“The European Union must strengthen the economies of the member states by ensuring investment and promoting solidarity in order to overcome the consequences of Covid-19,” said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in a Quest Means Business interview with CNN International on Wednesday, 1 July.
“The [Covid-19] crisis is very different from the crisis we experienced more than 10 years ago and which required us to keep spending tight. Latvia borrows money and invests in the economy, as do other countries. We are implementing a series of reforms to make public administration more efficient and improve the business environment. At the European Union level, investment and national solidarity must be a priority in this challenging time and as shown by the European Commission's proposal to set up an Economic Recovery Fund of 750 billion euros, we are moving in this direction. It is of great importance to agree on the investment of these funds in a thoughtful and smart way, so that our economies emerge after the crisis much stronger than before the pandemic, because a large part of investments are loans and we will have to be able to repay them,” said Krišjānis Kariņš.
Speaking about Latvia's experience in the battle against Covid-19, the Prime Minister emphasised that the government was consistently taking into account the opinion of scientists and epidemiologists in order to purposefully control the spread of Covid-19. "When restrictions were necessary, we enforced them. When the “2 and 2” principle had to be introduced, we did it even before the first fatalities. We acted quickly and listened to the experts. When the situation improved, we continued listening to the experts and gradually reduced the restrictions, which, of course, benefited the economy,” said the Prime Minister in an interview with Richard Quest.
Answering a question regarding travel restrictions, Krišjānis Kariņš said that Latvia had initially created an area of safe movement together with Estonia and Lithuania, which has now been expanded to essentially include the entire European Union. The European Union is currently gradually extending it to countries recognised as epidemiologically safe, i.e. with a similar Covid-19 prevalence as in the European Union.
“I would like to emphasise that this is the situation at the moment and that it is possible thanks to the concerted action of the society and cooperation with the government in the implementation of restrictions, resulting in Latvia having a low level of the spread of the infection and allowing for a greater resumption of economic activity. We are closely following the situation outside Latvia and elsewhere in the world and we understand that a new wave of infection can occur at any time. We are ready, if need be, to return to the restrictions in order to stop the spread of the infection. We are very aware that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet,” said Krišjānis Kariņš.
The interview of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš with CNN International can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QThNRcw25rw
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