EU PROTECTS > Latvia > Latvia


Did you know that the EU brings people together to work across borders and protect you and millions of other citizens? Whether they’re preparing to rush to the scene of an emergency in the blink of an eye, researching the cure for a mysterious condition, or working to make your area a little greener; together these ordinary heroes make Europe a better place to live.  

Coordinated by the EU, they protect your homes, friends, families and jobs, and these are their stories.

Scroll to continue

Vija Buša

Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Vija was deputy head of mission to Ireland between 2010 and 2016. During that time, she became aware of vulnerable young Latvian women coming to Ireland to marry third-country nationals. In exchange, traffickers promised the women money and jobs. A pattern of exploitation soon emerged and cross-border cooperation was needed to tackle the issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs became one of the partners of the HESTIA project, the EU initiative to combat human trafficking through sham marriages, involving Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Slovakia and Ireland.

Marcis Leja

Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine


Marcis is a gastroenterologist and the director of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine in Riga. Since cancer is an important problem all over the world, he is currently involved in an EU-funded project, VOGAS, facilitating collaboration between research groups in Europe and Latin America. His current work builds on his involvement in other EU-funded projects, like SniffPhone, which aimed at developing a portable device to detect gastric cancer from exhaled breath.

Maija Katkovska

National Safer Internet Centre


Maija works at the Latvian Safer Internet Centre. Co-funded by the European Commission, the centre is part of an EU-wide network that promotes safer usage of the internet. Through her work, Maija helps protect EU citizens, and especially children, from potential security risks on the internet,as well as managing a hotline number for people to report illegal or harmful online content. She also develops educational materials, organises information sessions and carries out social media campaigns for parents, children and teachers.

Sandra Salmiņa-Šuke

Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Sandra works at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She provides consular assistance for Latvian nationals travelling abroad. In her daily role, she helps travellers who find themselves in emergency situations while abroad, for instance, if they lose their travel documents, have an accident or are affected by acts of terrorism, earthquakes, or floods. Sandra organises assistance for them, which often involves working with colleagues from other EU countries.

Mārtiņš Seržants

Animal Infectious Diseases Surveillance Division, Food and Veterinary Service (FVS)


Mārtiņš Seržants works in the Food and Veterinary Department of the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture and oversees the prevention, surveillance and elimination of animal infectious diseases. Mārtiņš works in close cooperation with the European Commission and Member States to prevent the potential spread of infectious diseases among animals in the EU. Over recent years, tackling African swine fever has been one of the main challenges yet rabies prevention measures still remain one of the top priorities. The most significant stage of rabies eradication in Latvia started in 2005 as vaccination via aviation was launched for the first time.

Jānis Rungulis

European External Action Service, Latvia


Jānis Rungulis is an EU’s strategic communications expert. He works within the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union’s diplomatic service, which makes sure the voice of the European Union is heard in the world. His team works to counter disinformation in the EU and its neighbouring countries. He and his colleagues track disinformation in media and raise awareness about it. His team notifies the mass media so that they can educate the public.

Lauma Vizule-Kahovska

Nature Conservation Agency


Lauma Vizule-Kahovska is a freshwater habitat expert at the Nature Conservation Agency, helping protect the Latvian environment. Lauma studies rivers and lakes, and collaborates with other European experts to review their research. With EU support, The Nature Conservation Agency has recently been running an initiative to monitor natural habitats in Latvia, such as forests, swamps, dunes or rivers, and ultimately contribute to their protection.

Linda Rinkule

Consumer Rights Protection Centre


Linda Rinkule is the head of department within the Latvian Consumer Rights Protection Centre. Linda is motivated by the idea of keeping consumers safe from dangerous products. In 2018, her department examined 1,428 suspicious products and found issues related to 773 of them – including 200 toys, which were subsequently removed from the market to protect children. Linda’s work is part of the wider Safety Gate –  rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products, via which all EU member states are notified if an unsafe product is found. Linda’s colleagues enter their findings into an EU database, which lists unsafe products to be recalled from shops.

Kristaps Kolbergs

State Fire and Rescue Service


Kristaps Kolbergs is a fire officer who helps during fires or floods. He co-ordinates rescue operations and helps other rescuers during major tragedies. The State Fire and Rescue Service receives EU support to cooperate with other fire brigades in Lithuania, Estonia and Belarus. The service also works with other EU countries when disasters occur through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.  Kristaps knows that people's lives depend on his work. He regularly undergoes training abroad to keep on top of his game.

Andris Viksna

Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre


Andris Viksna is a meteorologist. He leads a team of 40 specialists who provide meteorological and hydrological prognosis. Thanks to his work, free weather forecasts are available at Andris works with other European climatologists to prepare for different climate change scenarios, , for example, predicting floods. The organisation he works for, the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre, receives EU support to improve environmental monitoring and the cleanliness of Latvian water, decrease pollution in the Baltic States, and tackle other challenges.