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Флаг Европейского союза Флаг Европейского союза

Overview

Capital: Riga

Official EU language(s): Latvian

EU member country: since 1 May 2004

Currency: euro. Euro area member since 1 January 2014

SchengenSchengen area member since 21 December 2007

FiguresGeographical size - population - gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in PPS

Political system

Latvia is a parliamentary republic with a head of government - the prime minister - who chooses the council of ministers and a head of state - the president - who has a largely ceremonial role and nominates the prime minister. The government remains subject to Parliament's approval throughout each term. The country is subdivided into 110 one-level municipalities and 9 cities. These have their own city councils and municipal administrations.

Location on the EU map

Trade and economy

The most important sectors of Latvia’s economy in 2020 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (23.1%), public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (18.1%) and industry (15.4%).

Intra-EU trade accounts for 62% of Latvia’s exports (Lithuania 15%, Estonia 11% and Germany 7%), while outside the EU 13% go to Russia and 5% to the United Kingdom.

In terms of imports, 76% come from EU Member States (Lithuania 17%, Germany and Poland 10%), while outside the EU 6% come from Russia and 2% from Belarus.

Latvia in the EU

European Parliament

There are 8 members of the European Parliament from Latvia. Find out who these MEPs are.

European Parliament office in Latvia

Council of the EU

In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Latvian government, depending on the policy area being addressed.

Presidency of the Council of the EU

The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.

During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.

Dates of Latvian presidencies:

Jan-Jun 2015

Presidency of the Council of the EU

Current presidency of the Council of the EU

European Commission

The Commissioner nominated by Latvia to the European Commission is Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People.

The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".

Commission representation in Latvia

European Economic & Social Committee

Latvia has 7 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.

European Committee of the Regions

Latvia has 7 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.

Permanent representation to the EU

Latvia also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Latvia's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.

Budgets and Funding

How much does Latvia pay and receive?

How much each EU country pays into the EU budget is calculated fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa.

The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather focuses on the needs of Europeans as a whole. 

Figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:

EU-funded projects in Latvia

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.

Find out more about how Latvia benefits from EU funding.