Head of State:President Andris Bērziņš (August 7, 2011)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (January 22, 2014)
Minister of Foreign Affairs:Edgars Rinkēvičs (October 25, 2011)
Permanent Observer: Ambassador Andris Razāns (September 19, 2012)
Population (in millions)
GDP (US$ in billions)
GDP per capita (US$)
Source: www.tradingeconomics.comWorld Bank FOREIGN RELATIONS POLICIES:
Latvia’s foreign policy seeks to guarantee national security, to ensure economic stability and growth, as well as to promote well-being of the people.
The government’s priorities until 2015 include: stable and sustainable development of Latvia by encouraging well-being of every resident of Latvia, by reducing social inequalities as well as by stimulating international competitiveness of Latvia’s economy; cohesive and inclusive society, strong national identity, while ensuring existence and development of the Latvian nation, language and culture; strengthening of the rule of law and public confidence in public authorities, promoting of public participation and initiative for participation in public administration processes; promoting of the numerical growth of the Latvian nation, with particular focus on stimulation of immigration of Latvian nationals and development of the regions of Latvia.
The action policy of the government is directed toward the implementation of Latvia’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 adopted by the Saeima and the European Union’s (EU), a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth "EU 2020". The following tasks are set forth by the government of Latvia in accord with the abovementioned Strategy:
Use of Latvia’s membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as a cornerstone of its bilateral, regional and global political challenges.
Participation in the process of development of the EU action policies, at the same time defending Latvian’s national interests, common foreign policy of the EU and an in-depth integration process of the EU.
Setting the medium- and long-term national priorities (2014-2020) in each of the areas of the EU activity by setting the Latvia’s energy and economic independence interests as the most important foreign policy priorities of Latvia.
Preparation for Latvia’s presidency of the EU in 2015 by formulating the political priorities of the presidency and establishing institutional and logistical support structure to increase Latvia’s competitiveness in the future as well as the creation of an effective mechanism for coordination of the EU policy under the guidance of the Prime Minister.
Strengthening bilateral cooperation with presiding countries of the EU and supporting further integration of the EU and political and economic unity, and EU enlargement of new Member States that meet the accession criteria.
Stand for economic and social cohesion as the most important objective of the EU cohesion policy reform and for equalization of direct agricultural payments among the EU Member States.
In-depth bilateral cooperation with Estonia and Lithuania to achieve the objectives set forth in international documents and more successful defending of common interests in the EU and other international organizations.
Strengthening political, economic and cultural integration with the Nordic countries. Extending cooperation with Germany and Poland as the most important countries of the European Union and NATO in the Baltic Sea region.
Strengthening of the strategic partnership with the United States of America in security and economic policy.
Stand for broader representation of Latvia in the most important structures of the UNO as well as promotion of Latvia’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Promoting EU and NATO cooperation with Russia compliant with Latvia’s interests. Continuing of the European value-based dialogue with Russia across the spectrum of bilateral relations based on mutual respect and equality.
Promoting of national competitiveness and sustainable development, implementation of effective and common foreign economic policy under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Defending of foreign economic interests in traditional partner countries as well as active support to Latvia’s enterprises in new export markets by developing closer relations with new leaders of economic development in the regions of Asia and Latin America.
Latvia has its security policy roots in the membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the member states of which share common values and the awareness that security co-operation is the most effective way of promoting security in their own countries and in the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. Jointly with other Allies, Latvia takes part in NATO-led international operations.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION:
In accordance with the foreign policy guidelines of the Republic of Latvia up to the period 2015 and "The Basic Principles for the Development Cooperation Policy of the Republic of Latvia", the following goals were set forth:
Awareness raising and promotion of public support to development cooperation goals and policy ; and
Latvia’s increasing role in reaching international development goals and meeting international commitments.
Latvia’s Development Cooperation Strategy up to the year 2015 advances with priority regions in the Eastern Partnership states within the EU Neighborhood Policy, countries in Central Asia, as well as countries in which Latvia’s military missions or the state dispatched civil experts are located.
Cooperation areas will include: Democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, support to economic and institutional reforms, promoting involvement of the non-governmental sector and other representatives of the community and strengthening of local governments; human development, including a wide access to education and training, gender equality, health care, including sexual and reproductive health, promotion of social dialogue; social cohesion and employment; trade and regional integration; environmental sustainability, climate change, sustainable management of natural resources and biological diversity; migration; Infrastructure, communications and transport; wide access to energy resources, sustainable development of energy resources, ensuring drinking water; sustainable development of agriculture and food security, regional development, territorial planning; and state fragility and security, including prevention of conflicts, overcoming crisis and strengthening of administrative capacity.
As a small donor that cannot engage in bilateral assistance in all regions of the world, Latvia contributes to global development by participating in financing the programs or projects of international organizations, as well as making payments to international organizations earmarked for development cooperation programs or projects.
INVOLVEMENT WITH THE AMERICAS:
Latvia has formal diplomatic relations with all OAS Member States and maintains embassies in Canada and the United States.
Latvia and Latin American countries enjoy friendly relations and successfully cooperate within international organizations such as the dialogue within the framework of the EU-Andean Community.
Latvia and Mexico have implemented a visa-free regime and in Chile, a friendship and co-operation agreement was signed between both countries. Also, the largest Latvian community in Latin America exists in Brazil, propelling them to maintain close relations.