Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 24/09/2007

Cohesion policy 2007-2013: jobs and growth drive Latvian plan and priorities

Latvia has reached agreement with the Commission on its National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for 2007-2013 that strongly features measures to promote job creation and growth. Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner and Employment and social affairs Commissioner Vladimír Špidla have agreed the framework, in which Latvia sets out its national plan and priorities for Cohesion Policy over the next seven years. The Latvian authorities describe how they plan to invest € 4.53 billion in line with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs.

During her visit to Riga on 24 September, Commissioner Hübner will sign the Framework together with Mr. Normunds Broks, the Minister for Special assignments for administration of European Union funds:

"The EU aims to help Latvia bolster growth and development momentum through this programme," the Commissioner said ahead of her visit. "Investing in human resources, innovation and infrastructure should help to achieve this. With this decision, the Commission welcomes Latvia's priorities, which are closely linked to the Lisbon strategy for more growth and jobs. Well over half the funds have been earmarked for Lisbon-related expenditure", said Danuta Hübner.

"The Latvian strategy shows clear commitment to promoting more, better investment in human resources," said Commissioner Špidla. "That aim lie at the heart of the European reform agenda. Thanks to these priorities, Latvian workers will be better equipped to adapt to changing circumstances. The strategy will also boost education and training, support employment, promote social inclusion and strengthen the capacity of public administration", he added.

Latvia's main aim for 2007-2013 is to foster harmonious economic growth and to approach the average EU level of welfare. There are three strategic objectives:

  • Developing and using human resources efficiently;
  • Strengthening competitiveness and progress towards a knowledge-based economy;
  • Improving public services and infrastructure as a precondition for balanced national and territorial development.

Investment will contribute to urban development in Latvia, currently concentrated around a few large areas: Riga (with its surroundings) hosts almost half of the Latvian population. The ERDF will contribute € 267 million to support the development of 17 cities. Improving the efficiency of public administration is another important aim and prerequisite for the management of EU funds. The EU contribution will help to compensate for gaps in the education system, contribute to the creation of new companies and improve the national road network.

Next step: Latvia is currently negotiating three operational programmes derived from the framework. Two of them will receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund, while the third will receive funding from the European Social Fund (ESF). Negotiations are well advanced and approval can be expected over the coming months.

Notes for editors
The NSRF sets out in broad terms how Latvia shall use € 4.53 billion of EU resources in the next seven years

(http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/atlas2007/fiche/lv_en.pdf).

In total Latvia will be allocated € 4.62 billion to implement Cohesion Policy. This includes territorial cooperation.

Each Member State prepares a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), coherent with the Community Strategic Guidelines for 2007-2013, in the course of an ongoing dialogue with the Commission. That document defines the strategy chosen by the State and proposes a list of Operational Programmes (OPs) that it plans to implement. As of today, 25 Member States have had their NSRFs officially validated by the Commission.

The Lisbon Agenda is an action and development plan of reforms set at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000. The reforms are intended to implement the EU’s strategic goal of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth, with more, better jobs and greater social cohesion. Progress is regularly reviewed at Spring European Councils.
The full text of the Latvian NSRF is available at:

http://www.esfondi.lv
Further information about European Regional Policy is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm
Further information on the European Social Fund is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/esf

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