My Baltic tour continued today in Riga. This morning I saw the Latvian prime minister, Valdis Dombrovskis – who, irritatingly, is eight years younger than me – he’s 37. It was all charmingly informal. I turned up at the government offices and said “I have come to see the prime minister”, several times very slowly to the security guard on the door. Eventually he understood, pointed at the stairs and waved three fingers at me – which I accurately interpreted as meaning “third floor”. When I got up there, a woman popped out of an office and introduced herself as the PM’s secretary and went to fetch me a cup of coffee. After a while, a man in short sleeves and glasses wandered into the office. I did vaguely wonder whether he was a computer technician, since he had a faintly geeky air. But when he said, “well we might as well get started”, it struck me that that this must – in fact – be the prime minister himself.
Our talk was off-the-record, and I’m saving the serious stuff on the Baltics for my newspaper column on Tuesday. So let me just say it was really interesting, and move swiftly on. Read more