46.3 Million Euro of the Swiss Cooperation Programme Financing Already Invested in the Latvian National Economy 31/01/2018
On Thursday, April 21, in the Ministry of Finance (MoF) already the eighth annual meeting of the Latvian-Swiss Cooperation Programme was held. At the meeting the representatives of the MoF and project implementers discussed the progress of implementation of the Swiss cooperation programme with the representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Latvia.
Participants of the meeting acknowledged that Latvia has successfully managed to achieve and even exceed the initially planned programme results, thus giving more benefits to citizens of the country. 46.3 million euro or 89% of the available programme financing have already been invested in Latvian national economy. During the meeting, Swiss experts approved of project follow-up in Latvia and pointed out that it could serve as a good example to other Swiss financing beneficiary states, to ensure the expenditure of the contributed investments in accordance with the purpose thereof.
Financing of the Swiss cooperation programme in amount of almost 49 million euro is available in Latvia from 2007. With the Swiss programme support 12 projects are being implemented in Latvia in such fields as regional development, court modernisation, improvement of the environment (remediation of historically polluted areas in Sarkandaugava), support to private and non-governmental organisations sector, education and research, financial sector regulation and access to financing. Majority of the projects have already been successfully completed, whereas the implementation of the remaining ones will continue till June 2017, marking the closure of Swiss programme in all financing beneficiary states. In terms of investing the Swiss programme funds, Latvia constantly remains as one of the leaders among 12 beneficiary states.
The programme has ensured the performance of significant improvements and provision of support in various fields in Latvia felt by majority of the country's citizens. For example, thanks to the school bus project, local governments were able to purchase 110 school busses, making it possible for almost 6,800 pupils to comfortably get to the school and back home. 2.68 million euro were invested so as to, through the NGO fund, implement targeted measures for children, youth and seniors.
In turn, within the Micro Lending Programme 1,162 loans to micro enterprises and self-employed persons were issued for business start-up or development, thus in total at least 2,803 jobs have been maintained and created. Within this programme ALTUM will continue issuing loan for as long as by June 2019. The court modernisation project gave the possibility to install video conference equipment in all Latvian courts, thus case participants can participate in the hearing also from another city or country.
115 boarding-schools have been equipped with automatic fire-safety systems, thus safe environment has been provided for at least 14,792 pupils. Since 2011 across Latvia 22 new multifunctional initiative centres for young people have already been opened (it is expected that three more centres will open by the end of 2016). Thanks to the Scholarship Fund, Latvian doctoral students and new scientists have a possibility to carry out researches in Swiss scientific institutions. As well as, through the project of activities of Swiss researchers, Latvian universities and higher educational institutions are hosting Swiss lecturers, who are giving lectures to the students on various topics. In total, instead of the initially planned 2,000, at least 6,500 Latvian students and academic staff members have enjoyed the advantages provided by the programme.
As we already informed before, positive negotiations between the Swiss government and the European Commission in the second half of 2017 might result in resolving upon the next Latvian-Swiss Cooperation Programme period.
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