The Latvian government plans to spend EUR 14.5 billion on reaching the goals of the National Development Plan, 2021-2027 (NAP2027), the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Center’s director Peteris Vilks told journalists Friday, reported the LETA newswire.
Explaining the purpose of NAP2027, he said that this is Latvia’s main medium-term development planning document, which is used in talks with the European Union (EU) on the amount of financing Latvia receives from EU funds. The plan is also a significant instrument in Latvia as it outlines the goals the nation wants to attain in the next seven years.
NAP2027 contains four strategic goals – equal opportunity, productivity and income, social trust and regional development. The plan aims to change people’s behaviour patterns and habits and provide a path to development. “The habits of society have to change in terms of people’s attitude to the environment, education and other people. NAP2027 includes steps that will promote this change,” the head of Cross-Sectoral Coordination Cente.
During work on the plan, ministries submitted 538 proposals on various initiatives, the implementation of which would require EUR 40 billion. Of these proposals the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Cente selected 330 initiatives for inclusion in NAP2027, earmarking around EUR 14.5 billion for their implementation. The largest amount, more than EUR 3 billion, has been earmarked for the Rail Baltica railroad project.
EU funds are expected to be the National Development Plan’s main source of financing, although the exact sum that will be made available to Latvia from this source is still being negotiated. According to a cautious forecast, Latvia might receive EUR 5.4 billion in cohesion funding and EUR 3.7 billion could be provided to the agricultural and fishing sector. To raise funding from EU programs like Horizon, Latvia will have to compete with other member sates.
During the next seven years, EUR 2.2 billion could be earmarked for NAP2027 in the government budget, according to cautious estimates, Vilks said.
He also noted that when using EU funding, Latvia will be required to invest in such areas prioritized by the EU as climate, digitalization, science, innovation, infrastructure and social protection.
The largest portion of the planned NAP2027 financing, or 49 percent, will be earmarked for quality living conditions and territorial development, which along other things includes the Rail Baltica project.
Although the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Center has drafted the final version of NAP2027, political debates about the plan are still ongoing, which means that some changes might still be made, for instance, by including a proposal to develop an airport in Daugavpils.
The National Development Council is scheduled to review NAP2027 on February 13 before sending the document to the Cabinet of Ministers for adoption.
Originally, NAP2027 contained three strategic goals – equal opportunity, productivity and income and social trust, but in November 2019 Saeima resolved to include regional development as the plan’s fourth strategic goal.
The equal opportunity goal is defined as important for social justice and a factor in reducing income inequality and decreasing other barriers to development.
The productivity and income goal is the the main precondition for competitiveness and growth (in human resources, investment, governance processes, innovation).
Social trust is a critical social resource and development dimension that facilitates cooperation in the community, according to NAP2027.
Regional development, meanwhile, is seen as fundamental for Latvia’s balanced growth in the long term.