atvia has completed all the nine reform measures set forth in the Recovery Fund’s (RF) plan to be able to submit the first payment claim for EUR 231 million to the European Commission (EC) in June this year, states the Ministry of Finance’s (MF) monthly report on updates in investments of the European Union (EU) funds as at April 2022, which was reviewed at the Cabinet of Minister’s meeting on Tuesday, 10 May.
Latvia has shown a good initial performance in the implementation of the Recovery Fund plan. This is important, as the plan of Latvia includes ambitious and politically sensitive aims, due to which the work on reforms will require serious and time-consuming political discussions also in the next steps; besides, one also has to take into account the challenges and risks posed by Russia’s war in Ukraine,” says the Minister of Finance Jānis Reirs.
Active work has started on the implementation of both the RF reforms and investments, and, at the end of April this year, also a semi-annual RF progress report was submitted to the EC. To receive a payment form the EC, Latvia, in accordance with an approved schedule, must have completed in the first step nine reform measures in the fields of reducing inequality, rule of law and digital transformation.
In the field of reducing inequality, a law on balancing the rights of tenants and lessors has been adopted. Also, the indicator aiming to arrange the network of general secondary education establishments by defining criteria as regards the number of learners and availability of infrastructure has been fulfilled. Furthermore, a strategic framework has been adopted for further development of the Minimum Income Support System.
In the field of rule of law, including strengthening of the capacity of investigation of economic crimes, criteria for determining risky market sectors, clients and purchases have been established with the purpose to improve the quality of procurement and reduce the risks of insufficient competition and preparation of low-quality documentation. Also, a legal framework as regards improvement of the competition environment and reduction of corruption risks in public procurement has come into force. In the same vein, amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing have been adopted.
Whereas, in the field of digital transformation, a uniform model for last-mile development has been adopted. Considering the process of digital transformation in the society, as well as the growing need, as a result of the pandemic, to carry out various processes (including in the field of education) remotely, the development of the last-mile infrastructure has a very significant impact on the general public, as it is envisaged to ensure internet access services with a considerably improved data transmission speed for a very large amount of data. Also, the indicator requiring to adopt technical requirements for connected and automated driving has been achieved. Apart from that, Cabinet Regulations regarding the procedure for organising and implementing the remote learning process have been adopted thereby fulfilling the measure as regards reduction of the digital gap among socially vulnerable learners in education establishments.
In order to receive the whole RF financing, Latvia has to achieve, until the end of August 2026, in total 214 targets and indicators which are divided into six payments from the EC. To be able to receive the next payment from the EC amounting to EUR 503 million, 49 various measures to be implemented until Q2 of 2023 have been set for Latvia.
Currently, the responsible ministries are actively working on development of the regulatory framework for RF investment measures. The schedule approved by the Cabinet stipulates that, by the end of the year, project selections in most of the measures will have been started by covering all fields of the RF plan, which makes up almost EUR 1.4 billion of RF financing.
In addition, the Cabinet informs that on 4 May this year, the government’s law on the EU funds programming period 2021-2027 entered into force. The MF expects to submit the next period’s EU fund programme to the Cabinet for approval in around June this year to be later submitted to the EC. To advance the process further, also informal consultations with the EC on the programme’s project are ongoing at the same time.
The Report on updates in EU fund investments as at 1 April 2022 can be consulted on the EU fund homepage.