UN speech: egg on the face of Latvian president?

Latvians have been passionately discussing the speech delivered by their president Raimonds Vējonis to the UN General Assembly in New York last month, particularly on social networks. For many observers it looked as if Vējonis was seeing his speech for the first time, and many Latvians were appalled by their head of state's terrible English pronunciation. But the country's press defends the president.

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Neatkarīgā (LV) /

It's always easy to criticise

Criticism of the president is unjustified, Neatkarīgā believes:

“We should organise a television show called 'Read Better than the President'! and have it broadcast live. Competitors would have to read out one page in English in front of the cameras, the public and the jury without faltering and with the right intonation and expressiveness. ... Not a task for the faint-hearted, that's for sure. If we want the president to meet our standards and speak English at least with a posh accent, we should invest in professional presidential advisers.”

Latvijas Avize (LV) /

A silly debate about a trifling issue

It's supposed to be the content of a speech that matters, Latvijas avīze points out:

“Politicians in India or South Africa speak English more often than our president, and they're not at all worried about their pronunciation. There are also lectures given in English by important academics which demand a huge cognitive effort on the part of their audience. So what? The content is key. If our president had had anything of import to say to the UN General Assembly, his English pronunciation would have been of secondary importance.”