Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019 and the minimum “basket” of services
Regional Policy Guidelines is a medium-term policy planning document that defines Latvian regional policy up to 2019. Latvian regional policy for 2019 is focused on activating the local government's ability to influence their own territorial development, based on the resource potential of the territory. Long-term objectives of the regional policy are: -Creating equal living and working conditions for all citizens, wherever they live, by encouraging entrepreneurship in the regions through the development of high-quality transport and communications infrastructure and public services; - To strengthen Latvia’s and its regions’ international competitiveness by increasing the role of Riga as metropolis of Northern Europe, as well as other largest cities of Latvia. Medium-term objectives of the regional policy: 1. To promote the areas of business development and job creation, outreach of jobs and services, as well as improve service quality and availability. 2. Strengthen the capacity of regional and local governments and their role in territory development. In order to provide citizens with access to services, the public individual service "basket" is set out within the framework of the guidelines based on the groups of settlement. The higher the rank of population within the group of settlement, the wider the range of services is provided. Service "basket" is used as the basis for planning of all kinds of public investments in respective territories and set of criteria for regional and local development strategies and the efficiency assessment of proposed investment projects. Guidelines provide investment in the development of infrastructure services in accordance with the 'basket' (areas: culture, health, social services, education, science, youth and sport) as one of the directions of support of international, national and regional development centers and rural development area.
Regional policy paradigm recognizes the importance of creativity and innovation in the regional development especially fostering competitiveness and visibility of territories and well-being of inhabitants. It also recognizes the part that creative industries and quality urban environment plays in the development of creative cities. Cultural diversity and creative clusters are the driving forces behind the innovation and creativity in the cities. Using their respective cultural and creative industries, cultural heritage and creative potential, cities start to become more aware of their distinctiveness and develop their own style and brand thus becoming more competitive. To highlight good examples of both business development and other creative initiatives in promoting the development of the regions, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development annually awards Creativity Prize to municipalities. Riga as the capital city has the widest range of cultural, sports, etc. range of services. Cultural heritage preservation and restoration related to these services is an issue throughout the whole country, however Riga possesses nationally important cultural infrastructure, used both by the inhabitants of Riga and whole Latvia, as well as by tourists. At the same time part of this infrastructure is in poor technical condition and/or with a limited capacity to host national and international events. Regional policy recognizes the need to invest in the reconstruction and development of multifunctional objects for the purposes of culture, sports and other national and international events and tourism development. Thus it would be possible to attract more visitors and increase their average spending in Latvia, which is an important contribution to the Latvian economy and also provides an incentive for the CCI and tourism businesses, thus contributing to entrepreneurial activity and GDP increase. Riga has significant potential to attract foreign tourists, given that only Riga and Stockholm in Northern Europe has well developed air transport centers.
Long-term results and performance indicators to be achieved by 2030: - Accelerating the development of regions lagging behind the pace of development in order to reach the national average level of GDP, contributing to reduction of regional disparities - dispersion in terms of GDP per capita of less than 30 (base value in 2006 is 46.8, achievable value in 2019 - 37.6); - Balanced spatial distribution of population, including maintaining the urban/rural population ratio of 70/30 (ie, providing services for rural populations and job accessibility and availability, thereby reducing rural to urban migration) (baseline of 2009 is 67.8/32.2, achievable value in 2019 - 68.8/31.2); - Limiting Riga Planning Region population coverage (% of country's population) increase, reducing the outflow of population from other regions - Riga planning region's population share of less than 48% (base value in 2009 is 48.5%, achievable value in 2019 - 48 , 2%); - Reduced income inequality by statistical regions - poverty rate after social transfers in all regions less than 20% (baseline of 2011 - Riga statistical region 13.0% Pieriga statistical region 15.9%, Vidzeme statistical region 28.0%, Kurzeme statistical region 20.4%, Zemgale statistical region 22.7%, Latgale statistical region 28.2%, achievable value in 2019 - poverty rate after social transfers in all regions less than 26%); -Speeding up the international role of regions and the capital city Riga - increased GDP per capita of statistical regions to the EU-27 average (base value in 2010 – Riga statistical region - 90%, Pieriga statistical region 42%, Vidzeme statistical region 35%, Kurzeme statistical region 42%, Zemgale statistical region 35%, Latgale statistical region 29%); - Increased GDP per capita in purchasing power parity in Riga % of the average GDP per capita in purchasing power parity in other Baltic capitals (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Vilnius, Tallinn) (baseline of 2009: 62%).
The planned source of financing for the implementation of the guidelines is state and local government budget and international funding, including EU Structural Funds and the Norwegian Bilateral Financial Instrument. It can be linked with other sources of funding, including other foreign financial assistance funding (Climate change financial instrument, etc.), as well as private capital, which can be attracted, successfully developing public-private partnerships, as well as other tools to raise private capital. Initially the measures set out in the guidelines are funded within the state budget funding framework. Issue of additional state budget allocation for the institutions mentioned in the guidelines are examined by the Cabinet of Ministers in the annual State Budget Law drafting and review process.