The European Union pushed the falling ports of Latvia to the brink

The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Latvia announced the end of support for Latvian ports from the EU budget. The EU’s decision to deprive the ports of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja of funding was announced shortly after the publication of statistics on the catastrophic decline in the transit industry in Latvia for six months. Brussels did not bother to save Latvia’s falling enterprises – it pushed them to the brink, once again proving that it does not need a developed economic infrastructure in Eastern Europe.

 The European Union pushed the falling ports of Latvia to the brink

Latvian Transport Minister Talis Linkaits said that from next year the European Union will stop financing Latvian ports. In the next seven-year financial period, subsidies for the economic activities of Latvian ports from the EU budget are not provided.

Until now, Brussels has co-financed works to maintain the port infrastructure in good condition: reconstruction of berths, deepening of the water area, and the like.

Now Latvian ports are sinking, and the European Union is not going to help them sail.

“The position of the EU is very clear – the ports should finance this work from their own funds. <…> The economic activity of the ports has been a cash cow until now, when funds were redistributed, but not invested in reconstruction, waterways, tugboat services, etc. “, Talis Linkites explained.

The Minister of Transport adds that the port infrastructure of Liepaja and Ventspils is not in the best condition and needs modernization. However, Linkites understands the motives of officials in the European Commission. What is the point of investing in these pre-bankrupt objects, if the period of prosperity of the Latvian ports is behind and now they are suffering continuous losses?

They shoot dead horses, don’t they?

Just this month, the Ministry of Transport has published statistics for the first half of the year, which testifies to the catastrophe of the Latvian port industry.

Transshipment of goods in Latvian ports decreased by a third, of which transshipment of transit goods – by 56%. The cargo turnover of the Port of Riga decreased by 26.7% in six months, the Ventspils port lost 41% of the cargo turnover, Liepaja – 15.6%.

The current drop in cargo turnover is a continuation of last year’s, so there can be no question of linking this drop with the consequences of the coronavirus. The Latvian authorities are not even trying to do this. They honestly admit: the crisis in the transit industry was caused by the departure of Russian companies, whose cargo in the best years accounted for three quarters of the cargo turnover of Latvian ports and railways.

It is generally accepted that Russian transit is gone forever, and it is unrealistic to deploy it from new ports in the Leningrad region of the Russian Federation back to Latvia. Now the flagships of the logistics industry are painfully inventing business plans for the survival of their enterprises in the new environment.

Latvian Railways has already pleased the observers with the project of reorienting its capacities to maritime logistics. To save the ports, the government of the republic plans at the beginning to completely transfer them to state control. Budget funding should enable ports to get through the acute phase of the crisis and save at least what can still be saved.

European co-financing for this task would be very helpful.

However, Brussels refused to support Ventspils, Liepaja and Riga in the new seven-year EU budget, acting with the Latvian port workers on the behest of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: push the falling one.

Explanations about the “cash cow”, when money from Brussels is allocated, redistributed, but not spent for its intended purpose, is a frank hanging on the ears. For the Baltics, such spending of EU subsidies is in the order of things.

For the railroad Rail Baltica, the European funds are just “sawing”, but it has been allocated funding in the seven-year EU budget. Because no matter how dubious this project is, it is European and is directly related to the accession of the Baltic states to the EU.

Seaports were inherited by Latvia from previous eras. They have nothing to do with European integration, but they are directly related to Russia, ties with which for many centuries have been the only guarantee of their development and profitability. So if the port cranes of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja are sold under the hammer for scrap, Brussels will survive the loss of Latvian ports.

In a similar way, the European Union pushed to ruin many budget-forming enterprises in Eastern Europe, which remained to the new EU member states from the era of socialism and created a completely different strategic potential for these countries.

Gdansk shipyards in Poland, Ikarus in Hungary, Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania – these and other industrial giants suffered a sad fate not because they were technologically outdated and could not withstand market competition, but because they were deliberately dragged to the bottom through institutions EU. The closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant was achieved by the French nuclear lobby; German and Dutch enterprises cut off oxygen to the Gdansk shipyards.

The European Union did not destroy Latvian ports and railways – the leadership of Latvia coped with its anti-Russian policy on its own. However, the European Union refused to save the drowning. What are they to him?

Now the ports of Latvia are even closer to the fate of other strategic enterprises in the region, the production and transport facilities of which within the “United Europe” have turned into a heap of rusty iron.

Employees of the Latvian port logistics will remain the same as the former employees of all these strategic enterprises. To thank European integration for the fact that it exists, and fly to work at gas stations in Ireland.


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