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Latvia - Political Criteria

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Short-term priorities:

  • to adopt measures facilitating the naturalisation process with a view to integrating non-citizens (including stateless children);
  • to improve Latvian language teaching for non-Latvian speakers.

Assessment (October 1999)

These priorities have been achieved in part.
Following the liberalisation of the citizenship law in autumn 1998, there was an increase in the number of naturalisation applications, although applications from stateless children are still low. The Latvian Language Programme has been continued successfully in spite of a shortage of language teachers. The government will have to earmark more funds for language teaching in the coming years.

Assessment (November 2000)

The language law is compatible with international standards and the Europe Agreement. The Latvian Language Training Programme has been implemented, but the government will earmark more funds for it in the future. The document on "The Integration of Society in Latvia" has been adopted but not yet put into effect.

Assessment (November 2001)

The regulations concerning the implementation of the language law have been amended to clarify the relationship between knowledge of the language and the profession. Latvia only has to observe this law in cases of legitimate general interest, taking account of the principle of proportionality. Direct public funding for the language training programme has been introduced. The priority relating to the Latvian language has to a large extent been satisfied.

Assessment (October 2002)

Significant progress has been made in reforming the public administration, which is becoming professional and stable. Efforts to ensure minimum staffing levels, the training of officials and adequate financial resources must continue. Although progress has been made as regards the judicial system, the legal framework has yet to be completed, including the adoption of a new Law on Criminal Procedure. No progress has been recorded regarding the alleviation of courts, the elimination of the backlog of pending court cases and the enforcement of decisions. Advances have been made in the fight against corruption as well as in the fields of human rights, the protection of minorities and the integration of non-citizens into Latvian society. Support to facilitate the integration process has been stepped up through language training and information campaigns.

Assessment (November 2003)

Please refer to the fact sheets on the adoption of the Community acquis.

Medium-term priority:

  • accelerated integration of non-citizens by simplifying the naturalisation process (including for stateless children).

Assessment (October 1999)

Naturalisation procedures have been simplified in line with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recommendations (by reducing the number of questions in the history test and reducing fees for several categories of applicant). Additional funds were made available in the spring of 1999 to reinforce the capacity of the Naturalisation Board and its branches to receive and process the increasing number of applications.

Assessment (November 2000)

No progress has been made on this priority.

Assessment (November 2001)

The programme on the integration of society in Latvia has been extended through new proposals, and a foundation, responsible for selecting and financing projects, has been created. There is still a lack of language teachers and the government must set aside additional funds to resolve this problem, the priority having been partially satisfied.

Assessment (October 2002)

There has been no progress as regards the naturalisation process. Sufficient funding must be made available to encourage better integration and language training.

Assessment (November 2003)

Please refer to the fact sheets on the adoption of the Community acquis.

Following the signing of the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004.

REFERENCES

Decision 98/263/EC of 30.03.1998
Official Journal L 121 of 23.04.1998

Decision 1999/854/EC of 06.12.1999
Official Journal L 335 of 28.12.1999

Commission Opinion COM(97) 2004 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(98) 703 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(1999) 506 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM (2000) 706 final
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1749
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2002)700 final - SEC(2002)1405
Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1203
Not published in the Official Journal

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236, 23.09.2003]

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 19.11.2004
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