In 2022, the FICIL High Council meeting took place over the span of three days. The High Council meeting was opened with a reception at the President’s Residence in Jūrmala. On the second day, 8th of September FICIL members held a members meeting that was joined by Prime Minister H.E. Krišjānis Kariņš to discuss the business environment development over the last few years.
The Prime Minister and FICIL members talked about the current geopolitical challenges, energy independence and public sector transformation. FICIL members asked Mr. Kariņš about shadow economy and planned policy developments to effectively combat economic and financial crimes. Lastly, the Prime Minister assured investors that the Government has already adopted and will continue to evaluate the necessary policies to quicken renewable energy production in order to assist households and business during the upcoming heating season. Mr. Kariņš also reiterated that Latvia is a safe place for businesses and invited all foreign investors to continue investing and growing their business in Latvia.
In preparation for FICIL High Council meeting 2022, FICIL work group leaders and members prepared 9 position papers spanning different topics. These position papers are presented to public sector officials and Government representatives in various meetings – starting with work groups taking place among FICIL members and public administrations, and ending with FICIL members meeting with Cabinet of Ministers.
The position papers focused on following topics:
- Energy independence and security;
- Circular economy;
- Labour force challenges;
- Court efficiency, fair competition and investment protection;
- Shadow economy;
- Achieving EU’s green deal and Latvia’s green strategy;
- Public sector reform;
- Quality of legislation.
FICIL Chairperson of the Board, Zlata Elksniņa-Zaščirinska also informed FICIL membership on the voting that took place online prior to the members meeting. FICIL members voted for Līga Abramoviča from ORKLA Latvia to join the FICIL Board. FICIL membership also voted positively to accept a new member – ATU Duty Free. Welcome!
As part of High Council Meeting 2022 day two, FICIL together with public sector representatives organised four work groups on key topics:
- Labour force availability work group was joined by Minister of Welfare Gatis Eglītis, Evita Simsone (State Employment Agency), Fredis Bikovs (LIVE Riga) and Rūta Gintaute Marihina (Ministry of Science and Education) to discuss centralisation of governance over human capital policy, ways to improve requalification and upskilling policy and the options to address labour availability issues. The work group was moderated by Zane Čulkstēna (ERDA).
- Fair competition during crisis (including shadow economy) work group was joined by Ieva Jaunzeme (State Revenue Service), Toms Platacis (Financial Intelligence Unit) and Juris Gaiķis (Competition Council) to debate the necessity to ensure balance between fair competition and state-owned companies developing strategic projects and recommendations and steps to practically reduce shadow economy levels. The work group was moderated by Mārtiņš Vargulis.
- Public sector reform work group was joined by Rolands Irklis (State Audit Office), Jānis Citskovskis (State Chancellery) and Zlata Elksniņa Zaščirinska (FICIL) to discuss most effective ministry set-up and competencies allocation, the outcome of public sector reform and evaluate zero bureaucracy principle’s effectiveness. The work group was moderated by Reinis Āzis (VTTI).
- Energy independence work group was joined by Gatis Junghāns (AS Augstprieduma tīkls), Rota Šnuka (the Public Utilities Commission or the Regulator) and Einārs Cilinskis (Ministry of Economics) to hear about strategy to increase grid capacity, steps taken to reduce barriers for businesses to develop renewable energy projects and other ways to foster energy security and independence. The work group was moderated by Mārtiņš Vargulis.