On Monday, 20 May, during the opening of the annual Saeima and NGO forum on Stability, Partnership, Development, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, stressed that it is important for non-governmental organisations to give candid feedback to parliamentarians regarding their work in order to continue collaboration and to pursue common goals, as well as to involve every member of society in the development of our country because non-governmental organisations are a nation’s forum which operates daily.
More than 4,000 visit Saeima during the Night of Museums (18.05.2013.)
On Saturday, 18 May, during the five-hour-long Night of Museums more than 4,000 people visited the main building of the Saeima, where they could see the interior of the building and the Plenary Chamber, as well as several exhibitions. The exposition A Green Parliament: The Life of Paper gave an insight into how the use of paper in the parliament has changed over time and how paper is recycled – the process that transforms office waste paper to brand new products. The exposition has been created in cooperation with the Līgatne paper mill.
Saeima in the second reading supports the ban on using USSR symbolism also during festive events (17.05.2013.)
On Thursday, 16 May, the Saeima considered in the second reading the Draft Law on the Amendments to the Law on Safety during Public Entertainment and Festive Events and supported the proposal to ban the use of USSR and Nazi symbols, including stylised ones, also during public entertainment and festive events. Currently the ban applies only to participants of rallies, marches and pickets.
Speaker Āboltiņa at the conference on development cooperation: The EU is based on values that are difficult to strengthen but easy to lose (10.05.2013.)
“Next year Latvia, together with other countries represented here today, will celebrate the tenth anniversary of accession to the European Union. In this decade we have experienced both political and economic upsets, and they have reminded us that the EU is based on values. These values are difficult to strengthen but easy to lose. We must keep this notion, this historical experience, in mind when discussing our place in Europe and the future of the EU,” Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, emphasised in her opening address at the international conference Development Cooperation: The Baltic Response, which took place on 10 May in the main building of the Saeima.
On Thursday, 9 May, the Saeima in the final reading adopted amendments to the Citizenship Law that recognise dual citizenship, set forth the procedure for granting citizenship to children born in Latvia to non-citizens and to children born abroad to Latvian citizens, as well as introduce changes in the naturalisation procedure.
Ašeradens in Dublin: Latvia sees the European Youth Guarantee as a tool for reducing migration (03.05.2013.)
The European Youth Guarantee is more than just a significant tool for curbing unemployment; it is also an opportunity to significantly reduce migration caused by the high level of youth unemployment, said Arvils Ašeradens, Deputy Chairman of the Social and Employment Matters Committee, at a meeting of chairpersons of employment, enterprise, innovation and social affairs committees of the national parliaments of the European Union held in Dublin on Monday, 29 April.
Should health education or politics and law be taught at school as separate mandatory subjects? How to strengthen the feeling among Latvian children and youths currently living abroad that they belong in Latvia? Should the state develop special support programmes for youth enterprises? Should information about advantages and risks related to introduction of the single European currency be disseminated also at schools? These were only some of the questions addressed by the 3rd Youth Parliament on 26 April.
At the Conference of the Speakers of the EU Parliaments, Solvita Āboltiņa emphasises the role of dialogue with society (23.04.2013.)
“By using modern tools of communication and efficiently channelling information, parliaments can develop a continuous, open and honest dialogue with society more easily. Social networks and live broadcasts of plenary sittings are needed; however, it is not enough. I am certain that it is important to have direct contact with people, to hear society’s voice, opinions and attitudes towards local and global events,” emphasised Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, on Monday, 22 April, when addressing other Speakers of the Parliaments of the European Union at their annual Conference.
On Friday, 12 April, Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, Chairman of the Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee of the Saeima; Saulius Bucevičius, Chairman of the Committee on Rural Affairs of the Seimas; and Kalvi Kõva, Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, signed a declaration on the joint position of the Baltic States regarding reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union.
USSR symbolism to be banned during festive events too (11.04.2013.)
On Thursday, 11 April, the Saeima supported in principle the Draft Law on the Amendments to the Law on Safety during Public Entertainment and Festive Events. The amendments will ban the use of flags, coats of arms, anthems and other symbols, including stylised ones, of the USSR, Latvian SSR and Nazi Germany also during public entertainment and festive events.
On behalf of the Latvian parliament, Speaker Solvita Āboltiņa sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Lords and the Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland expressing condolences on the passing away of Margaret Thatcher.
Saeima extends the tax relief period applicable in free ports and special economic zones (04.04.2013.)
On Thursday, 4 April, the Saeima adopted in the final reading amendments to the Law on Application of Taxes in Free Ports and Special Economic Zones. Amendments stipulate that licenced capital companies and free port administrations are entitled to direct tax relief until 31 December 2035.
Saeima committee supports draft decision to task the Ministry of Justice with elaborating provisions for cases of breaking an MP’s oath (03.04.2013.)
On Wednesday, 3 April, the Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee agreed to support and forward for plenary review the draft decision which would task the Ministry of Justice with elaborating and submitting to the Saeima the Draft Law on Responsibility for Breaking the Oath of a Member of the Saeima.
“Latvia and Turkey have developed versatile bilateral relations, which are reflected by a frequent exchange of high-level visits, growing mutual trade, as well as good cooperation in education and culture. I am sure that this visit will significantly contribute to our bilateral political dialogue and encourage a more dynamic cooperation between our entrepreneurs,” Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, stressed on Tuesday, 2 April, when meeting in the main building of the Saeima with the President of the Republic of Turkey Abdullah Gül.