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«Lembergs factor» impedes finance minister’s chances of becoming Eurogroup’s president

Dana Reizniece-Ozola/flickr.com/Saeima.
Because of «Lembergs factor», Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola’s chances of becoming president of European Union’s Council of Finance Ministers or Eurogroup are very low, says President of European Movement – Latvia Andris Gobiņš.

He explains that becoming a candidate is commendable in of itself. However, there are serious doubts if Reizniece-Ozola would be an appropriate leader for Eurogroup. According to Gobiņš, there are several arguments in favour of the minister: she is a woman, she has a love for chess, she comes from a small Eastern European country, and Latvia is one of the few countries that fit all Maastricht criteria. However, one very significant factor against her as a candidate is the «Lembergs factor».

«No one in the EU wants to rely on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friends, which include UGF and Aivars Lembergs directly and indirectly. Ties are very strong there, and this is exactly what impedes Reizenice-Ozola’s chances of getting the post. Any doubts about the candidate’s independence and ability to thing independently only serve to reduce a candidate’s chances,» said the organization’s president.

Gobiņš also says that because UGF has no agreement signed with any of the European Parliament parties also reduces Reizniece-Ozola’s chances. «UGF have yet to decide which side to take. They still haven’t signed an agreement with any of the European parties. This does not bode well for any kind of defence of Latvia’s interests, because, while prime ministers are preparing for major meetings at the European Council, meet with leaders of political parties, Kučinskis is likely drinking coffee in some embassy,» said the president of European Movement – Latvia.

According to him, UGF has not completed its homework and has not shown any interest in ever doing it. If the finance minister was a socialist democrat without «Lembergs’ shadow», the post of President of Eurogroup would be almost guaranteed for Reizniece-Ozola, Gobiņš said.

If Latvia’s finance minister became president of Eurogroup, there should not be any problems with combining posts, said Gobiņš. He says it would definitely mean that one or several helpers would be necessary for Finance Ministry to assist with organization and coordination of work. This would, however, help improve the quality of work performed by the ministry, and Latvia would benefit from that.

As it is known, Reizniece-Ozola is considering becoming a candidate for the post of president of Eurogroup.


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