On Thursday, 2 December, during the annual European Union (EU) fund evaluation meeting, the European Commission (EC) praised Latvia for its successes in many fields where EU funds are used, indicating that overall, Latvia exceeded the average rate at which the EU member states made use of EU financing in 2014–2020.
During the meeting, the Ministry of Finance (MF) and sectoral ministries familiarised EC representatives with the strategic headway on the use of EU funds and the progress on investments in 2014–2020.
The representative of the EC Regional and Urban Policy Directorate-General Linda Sproģe pointed out that in a number of indicators, such as the signing of project agreements, payments to parties implementing the projects, payments to the national budget required by the EC, Latvia shows results that are around the EU average, or above it. She also noted the understanding that the implementation of some EU fund projects was still ongoing and the total investment indicators would rise even further, and that the consequences of the pandemic had an effect on the progress of these projects. The EC representative insisted that Latvia continue its focussed approach to risk management, in order to enable the successful completion of the current planning period. At the same time, she positively commented on the active interest and motivation of social and business partners in Latvia to participate in monitoring the implementation of EU fund projects, and in developing the next Cohesion Policy 2021–2027 programme.
The minister of finance Jānis Reirs also emphasised the current possibility of drawing conclusions about Latvia’s capacity to invest the funding provided by the EU in 2014–2021: ‘Latvia has developed faster with EU money. Our country has grown digitally, modernised its schools, libraries and medical facilities, invested in the competitiveness and future of many companies and talents. We work hard, following a specific plan to make sure that European funds continue to be successfully invested in the future. It is vital that we continue growing together.’
J. Reirs noted that in our hectic day-to-day lives we often forget that the roads we use to go to work have largely been built using the support of EU funds. Moreover, we often forget that the medical facilities that currently operate at their full capacity have been equipped with financing provided by the EU. Scientific progress in Latvia also depends on EU aid in many ways. The minister of finance also said: ‘European funds have invested a lot in Latvia, and we have the numbers to show it!’
Between the beginning of the 2014–2020 period and mid-November this year, more than 2000 projects co-financed by the EU have been implemented in Latvia, with a total value of 4 billion euros, or 86% of the total EU funding available to Latvia. The parties implementing these projects have already been paid a total of 3 billion euros, or slightly over 60% of the total 4.7 billion of the EU fund package earmarked for Latvia for 2014–2020.
A video about the results of EU fund projects in 2014–2020