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Berzins addresses nation from Freedom Monument, criticizes national development plans

Andris Berzins. Photo: Edijs Palens/LETA.
 RIGA, Nov 19 - President Andris Berzins, in his keynote address from the Freedom Monument yesterday evening, marked the 94th anniversary of the proclamation of the independent Republic of Latvia and criticized national development plans.
Berzins emphasized that Latvia currently needs a plan of action and active people more than ever. "If we want to be capable of deciding the future of our fatherland, now is the time to be united and decisive, casting aside all cliches and outdated views on Latvianhood, our own people and others, since all nations that have found their home in Latvia respect and honor our language, traditions and symbols and have proven that they are capable of working together and assuming responsibility for themselves and their country in decisive moments. This was the case on November 18, 1918, August 21, 1991 and will be always," said the president.
Berzins pointed out that the past five years have have brought unimaginable changes in relations between countries and the groups of countries. Those, who did not allow such possibility ten years ago, have left the country in search of better jobs and salaries. "Europe's labor force is becoming mobile. But what can we expect in ten years? What will Latvia look like in the future? What will we want it to look like?" asked the president.
Berzins believes that the freedom of movement is a dangerous solution for small countries. If Germany is ready to welcome three times the population of Latvia as qualified workers in the nearest future, it is not hard to imagine the consequences of mobility in the future. The president warned that Latvia may end up with a couple of large cities and empty regions.
He also reminded that, on September 20, 2003, when a referendum on Latvia's accession to the European Union was held, 67 percent voted in favor of changes. "Undeniably, the EU currently faces many issues that require immediate solutions, however we can be delighted that Latvia's development is not among those unsolved. On the contrary, Latvia's growth is a hope for those who perceive the country as a safe cooperation partner, the frequently mentioned crossroads that Latvia belong to directly and indirectly are our advantage and opportunity," said the president.
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