500 euros per child in Latvia: costly flash in the pan?

Latvia's government is giving families a one-off payment of 500 euros per child to support them in the coronavirus crisis. The parliament in Riga on Thursday approved the measure - which according to the Ministry of Welfare will cost around 182 million euros - after Finance Minister Janis Reirs and other members of government had long opposed it. Latvian commentators say Riga has not cut a good figure.

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Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Bribes from the treasury

The measure provokes a sarcastic response from Neatkarīgā:

“What a miracle! All of a sudden the government is forking out. In March, all parents will have an additional 500 euros in their pockets. ... The government should have paid out this money earlier - more than 500 euros and last spring, not this spring. But there's something funny about the money from the state treasury - it's always lacking for children, but not for buying new tables for the vaccination office. There's always plenty of money for that. But now there's also money to bribe parents. The ruling coalition has undertaken a makeshift attempt to repair its clearly tarnished image with a 500-euro note.”

Diena (LV) /

Stop being so stingy!

Diena hopes this will mark the end of Riga's rigid austerity policy of recent years:

“All the fuss about this idea shows that the political elite sometimes undermines its own approval ratings. ... If the Finance Ministry had a better understanding of the mood in society, it would have immediately distributed a voucher to all families with children, instead of discussing who is entitled to support and who is not. At the moment, it looks as if the finance minister, with his resistance to one-off payments, is achieving the opposite effect and putting an end to the austerity measures he himself initiated.”