We, today's thirty-somethings, raised already with a focus on Europe. We knew we needed to learn foreign languages. We stormed the universities with confidence that the new EU Latvia graduates will be valued higher than "blue collar". We enthusiastically went through the naturalization, knowing that the passport will open up new opportunities for travel and career. We built their plans on the basis of installation that will continue to live better. And this, of course, we are very different from those who remembered the years of Soviet stagnation and crisis of the 90s.
The de facto philosophy of the eighties is very close to the official policy of the authorities. We believe in the European Union, adopted its rules, and the European Union we are not deceived - we were the most active consumers of EU privileges (scholarships, grants, EU funds). And I must admit, even the crisis of 2008 by that time already firmly standing on his feet "eurodate" survived quite easily. Were less likely to go to restaurants that have ceased without the need to fly to Paris. Consolidation of costs by analogy with what was carried out in 2008 with the budget of the country.
But a happy ending in the history there. The weakening of the EU as a political project and the predictable (but still painful) reduction in financial support from the EU further push from Latvia dream that we will live as in Europe. To catch up with the countries of the Old world in terms of GDP per capita, the Latvian economy needs to grow two times faster than it is now. But any prerequisites for overclocking no!
The main problem of Latvia in the 13th year of membership in the EU - passive infantilism. The habit of living in top-down scenarios (even if not always comfortable, but ready-made) and eat with the hands (in her Patriotic spitting) has corrupted society and the state. We were disaccustomed to think independently and to take responsibility for difficult decisions.
A graphic example is the higher education system. In 10 years the number of students in Latvia has decreased in half (from 131 thousand to 84), the number of universities has increased from 57 to 58, and the Latvian University in the world ranking is only in the last seven hundred (for comparison: the University of Tartu is the 400-th place). However, the Minister of education Karlis Sadurskis not even trying to imitate attempts of the reforms. He honestly says Latvian universities today are surviving thanks to EU funds, as soon as the channel power block, the "extra" you will die. Popular at the expert and policy level debate on the "strategic development plan of Latvia" in such moments seem to be a bad joke.
We love to compare themselves with Estonia. It is known that Estonians have "Skype", higher wages, lower unemployment, better business conditions, more friendly for citizens and businesses tax system, the possibility of electronic voting in elections, less corruption, the President-DJ... actually it is one – Estonians, though joined with us in the European Union in one day, managed to recognize the fact that to survive in the global competition, you cannot rely on impulses from the outside. The country needs its own "chip". Estonians put in it sector.
It is clear that Tallinn was not a moment in "Silicon valley". But targeted investments in the education system (equipping schools with computers, support technical programs at universities), the introduction of e-signatures, the active development of package of electronic services, lobbying politicians at the international level, the interests of Estonian it companies, the project "digital citizenship" (a special virtual status, which entitles foreigners to remotely open a business in Estonia, to sign documents, to use the services of Estonian banks to file electronic tax returns) – all this gradually brought Estonia to a new level. Even NATO installation on a two per cent budget on defense, the Estonians managed to enter in to your digital strategy, having obtained for himself the NATO cyber defence Centre. In Latvia the increase in the share of government funding for security, as you know, issued through higher taxes.
Latvia vital its super mission. We still don't understand why two million people live in this peaceful, geographically favorably located, clean plot of land.
Where can appear the idea? They just do not send a dispatch from Washington, did not come down Directive from the EU, and, frankly, is hardly a "new model of life for Latvia" could emerge in the minds of those who today sits in the diet and the ministries. This whole civil area of responsibility. If you look at the age structure of the working population of Latvia, the third part of them according to the CSO, – those nurtured by the EU, educated, highly skilled, European-minded people born in the 80's. the Circle is closed. A super mission for the future of Latvia should formulate those, who in this Latvia live. We were given from Brussels is enough. It's time to use the acquired and to grow up.