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Latvia

With a coastline of 531km along the Baltic Sea, Latvia is bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Belarus. Woodlands cover over 40% of this low-lying country. Latvia also counts more than 3 000 lakes and 12 000 rivers. 

The most important sectors of Latvia’s economy in 2012 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (30.0 %), industry (19.5 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (14.0 %).

Latvia’s main export partners are Russia, Lithuania and Estonia while its main import partners are Lithuania, Germany and Russia.

Capital: Riga

Geographical size: 64 562 km2

Population: 2 044 813 (2012)

Population as % of total EU population: 0.4 % (2012)

GDP: € 22.257 billion (2012)

Official EU language(s): Latvian

Political system: parliamentary republic

EU member country since: 1 May 2004

Seats in the European Parliament: 8

CurrencyEurozone member since 1 January 2014

Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since 21 December 2007

Presidency of the Council: Latvia will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in 2015.

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 latviešu valoda

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

More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.

European Commission

The Commissioner nominated by Latvia to the European Commission is Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue.

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.

Committee of the Regions

Latvia has 7 representatives on the 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 contribute and receive?

Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared 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 to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.

Breakdown of Latvia’s finances with the EU in 2012:

  • Total EU spending in Latvia – € 1.179 billion
  • Total EU spending as % of Latvian GNI – 5.30 %
  • Total Latvian contribution to the EU budget – € 204.7 million
  • Latvian contribution to the EU budget as % of its GNI – 0.92 %

More 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.

Practical information