Source Pravda.Ru

Riga details benefits of Union Membership

The Latvian Ministry of Social Welfare calculates that, given approval of the referendum on European Union membership, the Union would allocate over the next three years approximately Euro 115 million toward dealing with social problems in Latvia.

Specifically, approximately Euro 50 million would go into jobs programs--into courses for professional upgrading, for training jobless and to encourage hiring first-time young workers and students. About Euro 45 million would go toward the general educational system and another Euro 20 million would be used to deal with problems of the socially alienated, in particular of the handicapped through centers of vocational training.

Latvia will receive the aid only if Latvia approves the referendum on entry into the Union, set for September 20. The aid also would be conditional on Latvia joining in the listed social initiatives in the amount of approximately Euro 28.75 million--or one-quarter of what the Union would spend. Recent polls indicate that 45% to 52% of Latvians support an affirmative vote on the referendum.

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