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.
The most important sectors of Latvia’s economy in 2016 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (25.0 %), industry (16.7 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (15.9 %).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 70% of Latvia’s exports (Lithuania 17%, Estonia 12% and Germany 7%), while outside the EU 11% go to Russia and 2% to Norway.
In terms of imports, 81% come from EU countries (Lithuania 17%, Germany 12% and Poland 10%), while outside the EU 7% come from Russia and 3% from China.
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.
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:
The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU
The Commissioner nominated by Latvia to the European Commission is Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
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.
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.
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.
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 2017:
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.
Find out more about how Latvia benefits from EU funding.