In 2020, Latvia's contribution to the EU budget is EUR 317.34 million. In a report titled "Europe's Crime Capitals," Forbes business magazine claimed that only Turkey has a higher crime rate than the Baltic state. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash. The following article is a part of a series of brief country profiles for the EU-28 ahead of the European elections in May. After the Polish–Swedish War, northern Livonia (including Vidzeme) came under Swedish rule. There are 2,256 lakes that are bigger than 1 ha (2.5 acres), with a collective area of 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi). Latvia submitted its application for membership to the European Union on 27 October 1995. Transit between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan as well as other Asian countries and the West is large. For elections in the European Union, Latvia is a European Parliament constituency, currently represented by eight MEPs. [54], Early in the morning of 24 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a 10-year non-aggression pact, called the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. [177] The best known roads are A1 (European route E67), connecting Warsaw and Tallinn, as well as European route E22, connecting Ventspils and Terehova. [citation needed] The rise in use of the Latvian language in literature and society became known as the First National Awakening. It plans to establish the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga.[152]. Approximately 72% of Latvian citizens are Latvian, while 20% are Russian; less than 1% of non-citizens are Latvian, while 71% are Russian. In 2011, there were 416 religious Jews, 319 Muslims and 102 Hindus. In ancient times, amber found along the Baltic Sea coast was sought by Vikings as well as traders from Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. The country is subdivided into 110 one-level municipalities and 9 cities. [159] However, the chiefly consumption-driven growth in Latvia resulted in the collapse of Latvian GDP in late 2008 and early 2009, exacerbated by the global economic crisis, shortage of credit and huge money resources used for the bailout of Parex bank. [53] Latvian soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict, mainly on the German side, with 140,000 men in the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS,[63] The 308th Latvian Rifle Division was formed by the Red Army in 1944. How much each EU country pays into the EU budget is calculated fairly, according to means. Once you’ve had your fill of Baroque, Art Nouveau and Renaissance wonders, head to the nearest beer garden and make friends with some of the liveliest locals in Eastern Europe. [citation needed], In the post-war period, Latvia was made to adopt Soviet farming methods. [212], Grey peas and ham are generally considered as staple foods of Latvians. Selonia, a part of Zemgale, is sometimes considered culturally distinct region, but it is not part of any formal division. [176], National road network in Latvia totals 1675 km of main roads, 5473 km of regional roads and 13 064 km of local roads. Statistical regions of Latvia, established in accordance with the EU Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, duplicate this division, but divides Riga region into two parts with the capital alone being a separate region. [62] Most were deported to Siberia where deaths were estimated at 40 percent, officers of the Latvian army being shot on the spot. [104], Several species of flora and fauna are considered national symbols. The Latvian national football team's only major FIFA tournament participation has been the 2004 UEFA European Championship. You may also need a visa. [51] The constitution was partly suspended by Kārlis Ulmanis after his coup in 1934 but reaffirmed in 1990. [citation needed] On 15 May 1934, Ulmanis staged a bloodless coup, establishing a nationalist dictatorship that lasted until 1940. The most successful Olympic athlete in the history of independent Latvia has been Māris Štrombergs, who became a two-time Olympic champion in 2008 and 2012 at Men's BMX.[218]. CCPR/CO/79/LVA, 1 December 2003, "A new kind of citizenship accepted by EU? [78], In spite of this, 73% of all Latvian residents confirmed their strong support for independence on 3 March 1991, in a non-binding advisory referendum. [citation needed] A class of independent farmers established itself after reforms allowed the peasants to repurchase their land, but many landless peasants remained. At the start of 2005, the lats was pegged to the euro at Ls … Latvia has established diplomatic relations with 158 countries. [121] The Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe or e-Pine is the U.S. Department of State diplomatic framework for co-operation with the Nordic-Baltic countries. [38], At the beginning of the 13th century, Germans ruled large parts of what is currently Latvia. [102] Common species of wildlife in Latvia include deer, wild boar, moose, lynx, bear, fox, beaver and wolves. [79], The Republic of Latvia declared the end of the transitional period and restored full independence on 21 August 1991, in the aftermath of the failed Soviet coup attempt. Affiliations of the areas that comprise modern Latvia in historical & regional context: Latvia lies in Northern Europe, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and northwestern part of the East European Craton (EEC), between latitudes 55° and 58° N (a small area is north of 58°), and longitudes 21° and 29° E (a small area is west of 21°). EU and funds With its accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004, the Ministry of Economics shall ensure a coordinated formulation, expression and defence of Latvia's views on economic policy matters. The adoption process began 1 May 2004, when Latvia joined the European Union, entering the EU's Economic and Monetary Union. Posters show the influence of other European cultures, for example, works of artists such as the Baltic-German artist Bernhard Borchert and the French Raoul Dufy. [56]:128 There was a pause in fighting, apart from partisan activity, until after the siege of Leningrad ended in January 1944 and the Soviet troops advanced, entering Latvia in July and eventually capturing Riga on 13 October 1944. [103] Non-marine molluscs of Latvia include 159 species. The Commissioner nominated by Latvia to the European Commission is Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People. On 1 January 2014, the Euro became the country's currency, superseding the Lats. Latvian (EU) Residency Program. [131], The country has a large ethnic Russian community, which was guaranteed basic rights under the constitution and international human rights laws ratified by the Latvian government. [citation needed] Thus, the mostly peasant local pagan heritage was preserved, partly merging with Christian traditions. Just over two-thirds of voters voted Yes and Latvia joined the EU on 1 May 2004. Two thirds of Latvians voted to join, and on 1 May 2004 Latvia became a member of … [53], On 25 March 1949, 43,000 rural residents ("kulaks") and Latvian nationalists were deported to Siberia in a sweeping Operation Priboi in all three Baltic states, which was carefully planned and approved in Moscow already on 29 January 1949. [citation needed][108]. A referendum on European Union membership was held in Latvia on 20 September 2003. "Lettonia" redirects here. [154] In January 2011, the Baltic states were invited to join NORDEFCO, the defence framework of the Nordic countries. The Baltic Council is the joint forum of the interparliamentary Baltic Assembly (BA) and the intergovernmental Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM). [125][137][138], The National Armed Forces (Latvian: Nacionālie Bruņotie Spēki (NAF)) of Latvia consists of the Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Force, National Guard, Special Tasks Unit, Military Police, NAF staff Battalion, Training and Doctrine Command, and Logistics Command. More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending: The money paid into the EU budget by Latvia helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment. [37] Together with southern Estonia, these conquered areas formed the crusader state that became known as Terra Mariana or Livonia. 56 percent[84] of Latvia's territory is covered by forests, mostly Scots pine, birch, and Norway spruce. New industry was created in Latvia, including a major machinery factory RAF in Jelgava, electrotechnical factories in Riga, chemical factories in Daugavpils, Valmiera and Olaine—and some food and oil processing plants. [58] The racially approved being resettled mainly in Poland, being given land and businesses in exchange for the money they had received from the sale of their previous assets.[56]:46. [140], Since March 2004, when the Baltic states joined NATO, fighter jets of NATO members have been deployed on a rotational basis for the Baltic Air Policing mission at Šiauliai Airport in Lithuania to guard the Baltic airspace. The Latvian diplomat is not responsible for relations with another nation — but with his own country’s diaspora. The second most popular sport is basketball. Most transit traffic uses these and half the cargo is crude oil and oil products. [120] In 2013 Riga hosted the annual Northern Future Forum, a two-day informal meeting of the prime ministers of the Nordic-Baltic countries and the UK. [206], The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is an important event in Latvian culture and social life. However, universal citizenship for all permanent residents was not adopted. There were some spontaneous uprisings by Latvians against the Red Army which helped the Germans. The sole official language of Latvia is Latvian, which belongs to the Baltic language sub-group of the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. [93] There are 706 specially state-level protected natural areas in Latvia: four national parks, one biosphere reserve, 42 nature parks, nine areas of protected landscapes, 260 nature reserves, four strict nature reserves, 355 nature monuments, seven protected marine areas and 24 microreserves. Since joining the bloc, nearly a fifth of the nation has left to work in more affluent EU nations: The U.K., Ireland, Germany. [citation needed], Numeracy was also higher in the Livonian and Courlandian parts of the Russian Empire, which may have been influenced by the Protestant religion of the inhabitants. [140][141][142] Latvia also took part in the US-led Multi-National Force operation in Iraq (2003–2008)[143] and OSCE missions in Georgia, Kosovo and Macedonia. Latvia has a long and successful tradition of extra-curricular education, called interest-related or hobby education. [44][45], Several important cultural changes occurred during this time. Extension from north to south is 210 km (130 mi) and from west to east 450 km (280 mi). Latvia has ratified the international Washington, Bern, and Ramsare conventions. [86][93], Latvia has the 5th highest proportion of land covered by forests in the European Union, after Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia. [55] A week later, on 1 September 1939, Germany and on 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Poland. [169] Latvia's current account, which had been in deficit by 27% in late 2006 was in surplus in February 2010. the Commission or Parliament). [92], Most of the country is composed of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills. At this time, songs often made fun of the characteristics of Soviet life and were concerned about preserving Latvian identity. [citation needed], Species that are endangered in other European countries but common in Latvia include: black stork (Ciconia nigra), corncrake (Crex crex), lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina), white-backed woodpecker (Picoides leucotos), Eurasian crane (Grus grus), Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), European wolf (Canis lupus) and European lynx (Felis lynx). Latvia is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy [27][28] and ranks 39th in the Human Development Index. Meanwhile, largely isolated from the rest of Latvia, southern Latgallians adopted Catholicism under Polish/Jesuit influence. Current NBA players include Kristaps Porziņģis, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, Dāvis Bertāns, who plays for the Washington Wizards, and Rodions Kurucs, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets. [22] Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic. [165][2] The largest groups as of 2011[update] were: In the Eurobarometer Poll 2010, 38% of Latvian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", while 48% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 11% stated that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force". [39] The first German settlers were knights from northern Germany and citizens of northern German towns who brought their Low German language to the region, which shaped many loanwords in the Latvian language. airBaltic is the Latvian flag carrier airline and a low-cost carrier with hubs in all three Baltic States, but main base in Riga, Latvia. Albeit having experienced a difficult transition to a liberal economy and its re-orientation toward Western Europe, Latvia is one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. His team works to counter disinformation in the EU and its neighbouring countries. Latvia Jānis Rungulis is an EU’s strategic communications expert. [26] The Russian population is largely Eastern Orthodox Christians. English is also widely accepted in Latvia in business and tourism. For Latvian student corporation, see, Country on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, Reformation period and Polish–Lithuanian rule, Livonia & Courland in the Russian Empire (1795–1917), Economic contraction and recovery (2008–12). [161][162], The economic crisis of 2009 proved earlier assumptions that the fast-growing economy was heading for implosion of the economic bubble, because it was driven mainly by growth of domestic consumption, financed by a serious increase of private debt, as well as a negative foreign trade balance. EU Multiannual Financial Framework Latvia’s currency is Euro (€) since it became a member of the Eurozone on January 1, 2014. The University of Latvia and Riga Technical University are two major universities in the country, both established on the basis of[clarification needed] Riga Polytechnical Institute and located in Riga. [85], The total length of Latvia's boundary is 1,866 km (1,159 mi). In 2018, share of population aged 30–34 with tertiary education attainment in Latvia was above the EU average, but adults' participation in lifelong learning is below the EU average. Questions regarding specific cases or additional information can be sent to: info@li.lv . Eastern Latvia was cleared of Red Army forces by Latvian and Polish troops in early 1920 (from the Polish perspective the Battle of Daugavpils was a part of the Polish–Soviet War). Latvia is a member of the European Union (EU). [64], Anywhere from 120,000 to as many as 300,000 Latvians took refuge from the Soviet army by fleeing to Germany and Sweden. [74] The population of Latvia reached its peak in 1990 at just under 2.7 million people. [209], During July 2014, Riga hosted the 8th World Choir Games as it played host to over 27,000 choristers representing over 450 choirs and over 70 countries. However, by 2010, commentators[169][170] noted signs of stabilisation in the Latvian economy. [160] The Latvian economy fell 18% in the first three months of 2009, the biggest fall in the European Union. [19] Its capital and largest city is Riga; other notable major cities in Latvia are Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jelgava, Valmiera, Ventspils and Jūrmala. The native dialect remained distinct, although it acquired many Polish and Russian loanwords. [175] However, Rail Baltica railway, linking Helsinki-Tallinn-Riga-Kaunas-Warsaw is under construction and is set to be completed in 2026. More-detailed discussion in Daina Stukuls Eglitis, "Baltic Thaw, Aegean freeze", The Economist, 27 February 2010, p59, Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia, a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe, Learn how and when to remove this template message, German occupation of Latvia during World War II, Latvian anti-Nazi resistance movement 1941–45, Occupation of Latvia by Soviet Union 1944–1945, On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia, historical and cultural regions in Latvia, Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Inčukalns underground gas storage facility, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, "Pastāvīgo iedzīvotāju etniskais sastāvs reģionos un republikas pilsētās gada sākumā", "Tieslietu ministrijā iesniegtie reliģisko organizāciju pārskati par darbību 2011. gadā", Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, "Population number, its changes and density | Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia", "Population Census 2011 – Key Indicators", "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income – EU-SILC survey", "The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, Chapter 1 (Article 4)", "Official Language Law, Section 3 (Article 1)", "Official Language Law, Sections 4, 5 and 18 (Article 4)", "Official Language Law, Section 3 (Articles 3 and 4)", "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings", "Northern Europe - EU Vocabularies - Publications Office of the EU", "UN classifies Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as Northern Europe - Jan. 09, 2017", "UPHEAVAL IN THE EAST; Soviet Congress Condemns '39 Pact That Led to Annexation of Baltics", "Etniskais sastāvs un mazākumtautību kultūras identitātes veicināšana", "IRG110. The pact contained a secret protocol, revealed only after Germany's defeat in 1945, according to which the states of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into German and Soviet "spheres of influence". By 29 June Riga was reached and with Soviet troops killed, captured or retreating, Latvia was left under the control of German forces by early July. [81] The government denationalized private property confiscated by the Soviets, returning it or compensating the owners for it, and privatized most state-owned industries, reintroducing the prewar currency. [citation needed], Estonian and Latvian forces defeated the Germans at the Battle of Wenden in June 1919,[50] and a massive attack by a predominantly German force—the West Russian Volunteer Army—under Pavel Bermondt-Avalov was repelled in November. On 18 November 1918, in Riga, the People's Council of Latvia proclaimed the independence of the new country, with Kārlis Ulmanis becoming the head of the provisional government. Since then, it has been amended and is still in effect in Latvia today. Latvian armed forces have contributed to NATO and EU military operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996–2009), Albania (1999), Kosovo (2000–2009), Macedonia (2003), Iraq (2005–2006), Afghanistan (since 2003), Somalia (since 2011) and Mali (since 2013). A law expanding the scope for selling land, including to foreigners, was passed in 1997. [182], As of March 2011, Latvians form about 62.1% of the population, while 26.9% are Russians, Belarusians 3.3%, Ukrainians 2.2%, Poles 2.2%, Lithuanians 1.2%, Jews 0.3%, Romani people 0.3%, Germans 0.1%, Estonians 0.1% and others 1.3%. Latvia plans to base the development of its scientific potential on existing scientific traditions, particularly in organic chemistry, medical chemistry, genetic engineering, physics, materials science and information technologies. Each member state is party to the founding treaties of the union and thereby shares in the privileges and obligations of membership. Since Latvia had maintained a well-developed infrastructure and educated specialists, Moscow decided to base some of the Soviet Union's most advanced manufacturing in Latvia. [70] An extensive program to impose bilingualism was initiated in Latvia, limiting the use of Latvian language in official uses in favor of using Russian as the main language. Give feedback about this website or report a problem, Institutions, bodies & agencies – contact & visit details, The following link is a redirection to an external website, Public contracts in the EU – rules and guidelines, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in PPS, Current presidency of the Council of the EU, Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), Total EU spend in Latvia – € 1.212 billion, Total contribution to EU budget – 0.234 billion. [172], The transport sector is around 14% of GDP. By the spring of 1919, there were actually three governments: the Provisional government headed by Kārlis Ulmanis, supported by Tautas padome and the Inter-Allied Commission of Control; the Latvian Soviet government led by Pēteris Stučka, supported by the Red Army; and the Provisional government headed by Andrievs Niedra and supported by the Baltische Landeswehr and the German Freikorps unit Iron Division. And from 70 females are 2,3 times more than males. You'll have to pay a fine when you enter or leave Latvia if you: don't declare this money; give incorrect information The WHO Country Office Latvia was established in 1991 in Riga to serve as a direct link between the Government of Latvia and WHO. Amber, fossilized tree resin, is one of Latvia's most important cultural symbols. [181] In 2017 there were 1 054 433 female and 895 683 male living in Latvian territory. The Soviets immediately began to reinstate the Soviet system. 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