SCIENCE  of  LATVIA: Policy. Documents ________________________________________

Address to the General Meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
(22 February 2001)

 Andris Bērziņš,
Prime Minister
of the Republic of Latvia

(excerpts)

 ...My opinion is that with the moment Latvia was invited to start integration process in the European Union (EU), science has stopped seeking its place in Latvia's public. I believe it has as just EU is the organisation that is currently opening unthinkably new and large perspectives before Latvia's scientists. I wish to say they are far larger than they were before 1990.

...The first and the most urgent task would be a programme for the renewal of scientific potential... The teaching process, university lecturers and the numerous science institutions have to be integrated more compactly. ... A couple of recent years have proved the high potential of Latvia's scientists. To mention the successful participation of our scientists in the EU 5th framework programs in science and different things connected with the development of technology...

Organic chemistry, biomedicine, pharmacy, materials sciences, information technologies, forestry and wood sciences and Lettonics (Latvian studies) should be the priority fields in Latvia. In these fields Latvia's scientists have achieved noteworthy, significant results and have proved themselves at the international scale. It in no way means that any other field of science should be placed lower, yet I listed the branches, where practical, concrete and essential results have been visible, and where we can confirm our competitiveness with EU...

We have to think very seriously of how to optimise the organisational structure of science. Interrelation of science and concrete life, and the emerging demands of the economic area we are progressing to - the EU, is the question to be considered first. Here I mean the rules of the play, according to which science and representatives of science are used to live in other countries, which have longer operated under market economy...

The resources of EU and their attraction need serious work. All of you may expect to receive them, and all of you will receive the necessary support or co-funding of the state for Latvia's scientists to join the programmes and projects successfully.

There is one more unsolved question. It concerns the independence of scientific institutions and scientific centers -  whether the problems of property relations are put in order, whether the properties are recorded in the land book, whether the scientific teams, running the property, are really ready to go and start their projects in a normal financial market, receiving necessary permissions to attract additional resources, which could help science to survive.

As far as state guaranteed projects are concerned, it should be marked that their total amount for our state is regulated. We are to think about our foreign debts, about fiscal policy and the budgetary balance. Yet if there are concrete projects and there is precise examination of the projects proving their long-term return, the government will certainly support them.