Mon Jun 25, 2012, 11:38 AM
dipsydoodle (42,239 posts)
Insight: Baltic countries' austerity lesson for Europe - Just Do it
(Reuters) - Near a former Soviet naval base and dilapidated Cold War-era housing estate, this 84-year-old Latvian plywood factory is the kind of success story of which EU policymakers dream as they struggle with economic meltdown in southern Europe.
Workers in yellow and blue uniforms eye digital camera readings of an endless stream of plywood on conveyers, new automation that has helped this firm survive what many describe as the world's deepest recession. Steam hisses nearby, part of a novel water recycling scheme that has cut energy costs.
Some 15 percent of workers were fired after sales in 2009 plummeted a third. The remainder saw wages cut and four day weeks. But now production of the company, with more than 2,000 workers, exceeds pre-crisis levels, part of a cog in a Baltic economy that is now Europe's fastest growing.
"Things were very difficult here," said Latvijas Finieris manager Arvis Svanks over the din of hot, humming machines in a factory the size of several football pitches. "But you can say with some reason that the crisis made us stronger."
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Insight: Baltic countries' austerity lesson for Europe - Just Do it (Original post)
|Lydia Leftcoast||Jun 2012||#3|
Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)
Mon Jun 25, 2012, 04:18 PM
Lydia Leftcoast (47,741 posts)
3. Interesting comment on the original page
A key element regarding the Baltics is missing here. When Latvia regained itís independence in 1990 it had nearly 3 million people. Now itís less then 2 million. People are just voting with their feet. And the same goes for the other two Baltic nations. Also wages are I guess less then in Shanghai. While in the resort town of Jurmalla prices for itís beautiful houses are skyrocketing. I wonder if ordinary Latvians are now better of then befo"re independence.
A few months ago, I attended the funeral of a former teaching colleague who was from Latvia. When I was growing up, all the Latvian immigrants were of the World War II generation, people who had been deported as slave laborers by the Nazis and who chose not to go back after their homeland was taken over by the Soviets, or people who up and left when the Soviets took over.
Now, the Latvian church where the funeral took place was full of young people. The women who served the funeral lunch were all young and all had accents. They were part of the 1 million who have left since 1990.