Dear all,

only three more weeks until our annual get-together in Jurmala / Latvia. For those of you who have not registered yet, this is the last call! You can find an online registration form and a detailed program on www.innovationcircle.net.

Let's look forward to appealing presentations, demanding discussions and sustainable networking. To shorten the waiting time read what Mudite Priede, one of our co-hosts in Jurmala, is looking forward to the most and to what extend the financial crises affected Latvia in her eyes.

We see you in Jurmala!

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Mudite Priede, Secretary General of Latvian Association of Local and Region Governments (LALRG), is one of the co-hosts for the annual conference of the Innovation Circle Network in Jurmala - 8 to 9 December 2011. With a view to the upcoming conference Mudite Priede talked with IC about new challenges for Latvia and to what extend the financial crisis affected her country.

IC: You are co-hosting the Annual Conference of the Innovation Circle Network in Jurmala headlined "Europe in Transformation". What are you looking forward to the most and why do you consider this event to be important for LALRG and Latvia in general?

 

Mudite Priede: We look forward to learn new best practices in developing territories, how to continue to develop territories in crisis, as well as new approaches and innovative ideas.

IC: What are the main challenges for Latvian communities today?

Mudite Priede: The main challenge for Latvian local governments is budget 2012. Since this is the last year (I hope so) when we have to consolidate the budget - make budget cuts. The LALRG is leading very hard negotiations with the central government about local governments’ share. The main challenge of our local governments will be to provide all needed services to inhabitants with the reduced budget.

IC: How, in your opinion, should Latvians on a local and national level handle these challenges?

Mudite Priede: I strongly believe that LALRG and central government could find the compromise and take responsibility together.

IC: Is the financial crisis in Europe a significant issue for communities in Latvia?

Mudite Priede: Latvia was the first country which experienced the financial crisis in Europe. Year 2012 will be the last one when we have to continue the budget consolidation. The IMF has finished its mission and Latvia has regained its solvency and capacity to act on an international market. We hope that we will not be hit by the second wave of the financial crisis.

IC: What is the most positive issue you can say about the present situation in Latvia?

 

Mudite Priede: Local governments of Latvia have always been and still are very responsible. It has been a foundation of social stability during period of crisis.  Local governments of Latvia are the driving force of reforms and promoters of innovations in service providing. Local governments of Latvia are also facilitators of  citizen participation, integration and cooperation.