Population minister learns about Latvian experience in demographic affairs ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Minister of Population Riina Solman (Isamaa).
Minister of Population Riina Solman (Isamaa). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

During a visit to Latvia on Friday, Minister of Population Riina Solman (Isamaa) met with Imants Parādnieks, adviser on demographic policy to the Latvian government. The goal of Solman's visit was to get acquainted with the experiences of Estonia's southern neighbor in directing demographic processes as well as to discuss family and migration policies.

During a visit to Latvia on Friday, Minister of Population Riina Solman (Isamaa) met with Imants Parādnieks, adviser on demographic policy to the Latvian government. The goal of Solman's visit was to get acquainted with the experiences of Estonia's southern neighbor in directing demographic processes as well as to discuss family and migration policies.

On her visit, Solman also met with Latvian Minister of Welfare Ramona Petraviča and gave a presentation at a summer school session of the Association of Estonian Cultural Societies, spokespeople for the Ministry o the Interior said.

At her meeting with Parādnieks, Solman was given an overview of Latvia's experience with monitoring and directing demographic processes.

"30 years ago, when we were freed from Soviet occupation, Latvia and Estonia had a similar starting point, which is also why there are many similarities between our demographic processes and there is much we can learn from each other," Solman said, adding that the two neighboring countries also have similar key concerns, such as emigration and low birth rates.

Other topics discussed at the meeting also included issues in family policy, such as child benefits and tax incentives, housing policy in connection with families with children, as well as the organization of benefits for single parents.

"The Latvians were impressed with Estonia's success regarding the benefit for large families, which increased the number of third children born in families by close to one third," Solman highlighted.

Another topic discussed at their meeting was migration policy.

Solman highlighted that for the fourth consecutive year, the number of people arriving in Estonia has exceeded the number of people leaving. The same has not occurred in Latvia, the population of which has, in the past eight years, decreased by over 100,000 due to immigration.

Estonia, Latvia trying to attract back diaspora members

Similarly to Estonia, Latvia is also seeking opportunities to make the prospect of returning home an attractive prospect for members of its diaspora.

"To that end, a regional network has been created through which emigrant families are contacted and offered opportunities for returning [to Latvia]," Solman described. "The establishment of the network cost €500,000, but this amount has already been recovered threefold."

The Estonian minister added that a preventive approach similar to the one used in Latvia should be implemented in Estonia as well.

While in Latvia, Solman also took part in an event marking the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP) in which wreaths were laid at the foot of the Freedom Monument, known locally as Milda, in Riga.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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