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Political scientists have varied opinions on Berzins' Independence Day address

Andris Berzins. Photo: Edijs Palens/LETA.
 RIGA, Nov 20  - Political scientists positively assess President Andris Berzins' address from the Freedom Monument on the 94th anniversary of the proclamation of the independent Republic of Latvia, but draw attention to the lack of expressiveness.
"Berzins did not want to deliver an emotional speech. Alongside several guidelines, his address contained some criticisms. Overall, the president succeeded, since the address had a rather wide resonance," said political expert Ivars Ijabs. Ijabs also pointed out that Berzins stayed true to his priorities. At the beginning of his presidency, Berzins emphasized that economic and social development will be his priority. "The president may not excel at emotional speeches, but he speaks his mind, even if someone from the ruling elite may find it unacceptable," explained Ijabs.
University of Latvia Social Sciences Faculty Dean Juris Rozenvalds had a similar opinion. Rozenvalds pointed out that, compared to last year, when the president was more emotional, this year's address was aimed at several problems affecting the country and its residents. "In comparison with last year, a considerable step forward was made this year," said Rozenvalds.
Rozenvalds lauded the fact that Berzins emphasized Latvia's unity and addressed Latvians abroad.
Political observer Iveta Kazoka had a different opinion. "There were two important messages in the address. Unfortunately, they drowned in a rather unemotional and inexpressive reading," said Kazoka. Nevertheless, she also lauded the president's attempt to address all residents.
As the second inspiring message to the nation, Kazoka mentioned Berzins' description of Latvia as a strong and conscientious country. Kazoka also criticized the president's address. "The address contained several empty and meaningless phrases. Moreover, the address allusions to the coalition. The nation expects the president to be a leader and speak out his heart instead of sticking to a paper".
As reported, President Andris Berzins, in his keynote address from the Freedom Monument on Sunday, 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 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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