Monday, 31 December 2007

The State of Latvia vis-a- vis Wales

I encountered a political pundit who manages a private Latvian university yesterday and was given a three-hour exposition of the inside story on the state of Latvian politics and economy. Prices are high and yet wages and salaries are low, meaning that it is a struggle for people to make a living and afford the high cost of living. Living accommodation accounts for approximately half of take-home pay. Prices are similar if not higher than in the UK and availability of produce is limited. Road infrastructure is poor and suffers badly in comparison with its Lithuanian neighbour where the roads are very satisfactory and where internal funding was provided without reliance on the EU coffers. In Latvia European money is being leached out of the economy and is being directed in an easterly direction, and money laundering is practised on a wide scale. Politicians are under the sway of big business and corruption and corporate crime is rife. Wales should count itself lucky in a comparison between the economies of these two nations. Things could be a lot worse.
Meanwhile Cyprus and Malta join the Eurozone on January 1st.

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