24 -25 November. However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule (1710–1918) and later Soviet occupation, 26.9% of the population of Latvia are ethnic Russians, some of whom (10.7% of Latvian residents) have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all. With most of Latvia's industrial base evacuated to the interior of Russia in 1915, radical land reform was the central political question for the young state. Weekly updated information on COVID-19 reported in the EU/EEA.  Folk songs and classical choir songs are sung, with emphasis on a cappella singing, though modern popular songs have recently been incorporated into the repertoire as well. :48, On 22 June 1941 German troops attacked Soviet forces in Operation Barbarossa. , In the 19th century, Latvian nationalist movements emerged. The Soviets dealt harshly with their opponents – prior to Operation Barbarossa, in less than a year, at least 34,250 Latvians were deported or killed.  The greatest number of patents, both nationwide and abroad, are in medical chemistry. The growth momentum has continued into 2012 and 2013 despite deteriorating external conditions, and the economy is expected to expand by 4.1 percent in 2014. However, most indigenous Latvians did not participate in this particular cultural life. Selonia, a part of Zemgale, is sometimes considered culturally distinct region, but it is not part of any formal division. 70% percent of the mires are untouched by civilization, and they are a refuge for many rare species of plants and animals. In 2014, Riga was the European Capital of Culture, the euro was introduced as the currency of the country and a Latvian was named vice-president of the European Commission.  Joint Nordic-Baltic co-operation initiatives include the education programme NordPlus and mobility programmes for public administration, business and industry and culture.  Most were deported to Siberia where deaths were estimated at 40 percent, officers of the Latvian army being shot on the spot. The Young Latvian (Latvian: Jaunlatvieši) movement laid the groundwork for nationalism from the middle of the century, many of its leaders looking to the Slavophiles for support against the prevailing German-dominated social order. Latvijas vēstures atlants, Jānis Turlajs, page 12, Karšu izdevniecība Jāņa sēta, H. Strods, "'Dobrye Shvedskie Vremena' v Istoriografii Latvii (Konets XVIII V. – 70-E Gg. It has survived in German Baltic families to this day, in spite of their dispersal to Germany, the United States, Canada and other countries in the early 20th century. The country is subdivided into 110 one-level municipalities and 9 cities. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather focuses on the needs of Europeans as a whole. They promoted Latvian culture and encouraged Latvians to take part in cultural activities.  Other important universities, which were established on the base of State University of Latvia, include the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (established in 1939 on the basis of the Faculty of Agriculture) and Riga Stradiņš University (established in 1950 on the basis of the Faculty of Medicine). , The transport sector is around 14% of GDP. The government remains subject to Parliament's approval throughout each term. Summer starts in June and lasts until August. Unique geological conditions at Inčukalns and other locations in Latvia are particularly suitable for underground gas storage.. Winter starts in mid-December and lasts until mid-March.  Forests account for 3,497,000 ha (8,640,000 acres) or 56% of the total land area. :271, More than 200,000 Latvian citizens died during World War II, including approximately 75,000 Latvian Jews murdered during the Nazi occupation.  In 2016 Latvia used 6.4 global hectares of biocapacity per person - their ecological footprint of consumption. 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. Its GDP per head in purchasing power standards is about one quarter of the EU-15 average. Latvia was the last of the states which would join the EU in 2004 to hold a referendum on the issue. Latvia is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy  and ranks 39th in the Human Development Index. , Latvia has four pronounced seasons of near-equal length. In terms of imports, 75% come from EU Member States (Lithuania 17%, Germany 11% and Poland 9%), while outside the EU 8% come from Russia and 4% from Canada.  However, Rail Baltica railway, linking Helsinki-Tallinn-Riga-Kaunas-Warsaw is under construction and is set to be completed in 2026. 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.  There were 59 hospitals in Latvia in 2009, down from 94 in 2007 and 121 in 2006. , The Latvian healthcare system is a universal programme, largely funded through government taxation.  It is part of the Nordic Transition Support Unit (NTSU), which renders joint force contributions in support of Afghan security structures ahead of the withdrawal of Nordic and Baltic ISAF forces in 2014. On 1 July 2016, Latvia became a member of the OECD.. Spring and autumn bring fairly mild weather. This year features the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra. In 2020, Latvia's contribution to the EU budget is EUR 317.34 million.  Its capital and largest city is Riga; other notable major cities in Latvia are Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jelgava, Valmiera, Ventspils and Jūrmala. In October 1999, Latvia received a favourable evaluation in the Commission's Annual Review of Accession Preparations. Since joining the bloc, nearly a fifth of the nation has left to work in more affluent EU nations: The U.K., Ireland, Germany. In 2017 there were a total of 803,546 licensed vehicles in Latvia. The country has very few natural resources and imports all of its natural gas and oil, as well as half of its electricity needs. Common ingredients in Latvian recipes are found locally, such as potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbage, onions, eggs, and pork. Latvia is a member of the European Union (EU). 18 November. Sjanits’ job is to respond to the exodus triggered by Latvia’s accession to the EU. ECDC switched to a weekly reporting schedule for the COVID-19 situation worldwide and in the EU/EEA and the UK on 17 December 2020.Hence, all daily updates have been discontinued from 14 December. Latvians comprise 0.4% of the total EU population. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). Latvia-EU. Latvia is alive with vibrant cities, tantalising beaches, historic towns and a busy network of forests and rivers. , Approximately 206,000 non-citizens – including stateless persons – have limited access to some political rights – only citizens are allowed to participate in parliamentary or municipal elections, although there are no limitations in regards to joining political parties or other political organizations. Latvia has had many European basketball stars like Jānis Krūmiņš, Maigonis Valdmanis, Valdis Muižnieks, Valdis Valters, Igors Miglinieks, as well as the first Latvian NBA player Gundars Vētra.  Latvia manufactured trains, ships, minibuses, mopeds, telephones, radios and hi-fi systems, electrical and diesel engines, textiles, furniture, clothing, bags and luggage, shoes, musical instruments, home appliances, watches, tools and equipment, aviation and agricultural equipment and long list of other goods.  Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages.  Latvian armed forces contributed to a UK-led Battlegroup in 2013 and the Nordic Battlegroup in 2015 under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. This aroused popular protests against the USSR and also gave rise to an increasing popularity of poetry. Latvian cuisine has been influenced by the neighbouring countries.  Latvia, then a puppet government, was headed by Augusts Kirhenšteins. The total length of its land boundary is 1,368 km (850 mi), of which 343 km (213 mi) is shared with Estonia to the north, 276 km (171 mi) with the Russian Federation to the east, 161 km (100 mi) with Belarus to the southeast and 588 km (365 mi) with Lithuania to the south. , Latvia has a long tradition of conservation. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. , Most of Latvia's territory is less than 100 m (330 ft) above sea level. The Evangelical Lutheran Church, with an estimated 600,000 members in 1956, was affected most adversely. , Traditional Latvian folklore, especially the dance of the folk songs, dates back well over a thousand years.  In the north, Latvia, Finland and Estonia were assigned to the Soviet sphere. The most important sectors of Latvia’s economy in 2018 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (25.4%), industry (16.1%) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (15.8%). New industry was created in Latvia, including a major machinery factory RAF in Jelgava, electrotechnical factories in Riga, chemical factories in Daugavpils, Valmiera and Olaine—and some food and oil processing plants. On occasions, especially in 1944, opposing Latvian troops faced each other in battle.:299. Schengen: Bulgaria is currently in the process of joining the Schengen area. Real GDP growth of 5.5 percent in 2011 was underpinned by export growth and a recovery in domestic demand.  Since Latvia's independence in 1918, it has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. Posters show the influence of other European cultures, for example, works of artists such as the Baltic-German artist Bernhard Borchert and the French Raoul Dufy. For elections in the European Union, Latvia is a European Parliament constituency, currently represented by eight MEPs. The war of independence that followed was part of a general chaotic period of civil and new border wars in Eastern Europe. , The country has a large ethnic Russian community, which was guaranteed basic rights under the constitution and international human rights laws ratified by the Latvian government.  Latvia was one of the EuroBasket 2015 hosts. , Latvia has a temperate climate that has been described in various sources as either humid continental (Köppen Dfb) or oceanic/maritime (Köppen Cfb). The second most popular sport is basketball. Arable land is spotted with birch groves and wooded clusters, which afford a habitat for numerous plants and animals. Latvia submitted its application for membership to the European Union on 27 October 1995. Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews.  It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990 and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Since then, it has been amended and is still in effect in Latvia today. These have their own city councils and mu… Due to the revolutionary amendments to immigration law Latvia offers the opportunity to become resident in a Schengen Area member country with minimal bureaucratic requirements. From the age of 40 – more female. Every year more boys are born. , In 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a resolution on the Occupation of the Baltic states, in which it declared the occupation "not in accordance with law", and not the "will of the Soviet people". Extension from north to south is 210 km (130 mi) and from west to east 450 km (280 mi). The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU. Demands for self-determination were initially confined to autonomy, until a power vacuum was created by the Russian Revolution in 1917, followed by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Russia and Germany in March 1918, then the Allied armistice with Germany on 11 November 1918.  The most senior civil servants are the thirteen Secretaries of State. Until the age of 39, there are more male than female.  The Russian population is largely Eastern Orthodox Christians.   There also developed a growing urban proletariat and an increasingly influential Latvian bourgeoisie. The 2006 IIHF World Championship was held in Riga. Each member state is party to the founding treaties of the union and thereby shares in the privileges and obligations of membership. Latvia, which was occupied and annexed by the U.S.S.R. in June 1940, declared its independence on August 21, 1991.  Latvian soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict, mainly on the German side, with 140,000 men in the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS, The 308th Latvian Rifle Division was formed by the Red Army in 1944. Latvia has a population of 2.4 million inhabitants with a 1999 GDP per capita of 2280 ECU (1). , Latvian civilian experts have contributed to EU civilian missions: border assistance mission to Moldova and Ukraine (2005–2009), rule of law missions in Iraq (2006 and 2007) and Kosovo (since 2008), police mission in Afghanistan (since 2007) and monitoring mission in Georgia (since 2008). Big European events have been celebrated in Riga such as the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 and the European Film Awards 2014. The Finance Ministry said that the European Commission this year announced several amendments to the bloc's budget which changed the annual amount of Latvia's contribution. Latvia has a total area of 64,559 km (24,926 sq mi) of which 62,157 km (23,999 sq mi) land, 18,159 km (7,011 sq mi) agricultural land, 34,964 km (13,500 sq mi) forest land and 2,402 km (927 sq mi) inland water. By 2011, more than half of non-citizens had taken naturalization exams and received Latvian citizenship. Extraordinary Brussels European Council confirms the EU's determination to conclude accession negotiations with 10 EU candidate states, including Latvia, at the Copenhagen European Council on December 12 – 13 and to sign the accession treaty in April, 2003. Latvia has acceded to most relevant human rights instruments and is party to both the 1954 and 1961 statelessness conventions. In 2018, share of population aged 30–34 with tertiary education attainment in Latvia was above the EU average, but adults' participation in lifelong learning is below the EU average.  Instead, citizenship was granted to persons who had been citizens of Latvia at the day of loss of independence at 1940 as well as their descendants. The country has a temperate seasonal climate. There were 290,660 "non-citizens" living in Latvia or 14.1% of Latvian residents, mainly Russian settlers who arrived after the occupation of 1940 and their descendants. Municipal roads in Latvia totals 30 439 km of roads and 8039 km of streets. The president appoints a prime minister who, together with his cabinet, forms the executive branch of the government, which has to receive a confidence vote by the Saeima.  Fighting continued sporadically between Sweden and Poland until the Truce of Altmark in 1629. Winters have average temperatures of −6 °C (21 °F) and are characterized by stable snow cover, bright sunshine, and short days. Population by citizenship and ethnicity at the beginning of the year", "Socialinguistica: language and Religion", "Latvia – Country Profile: Human Development Indicators", "History of Latvia - Lonely Planet Travel Information", "Collector Coin Dedicated to 18th Century Riga", "Cēsis, Battle of | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)", Patriots or Nazi collaborators? In Boxing, Mairis Briedis is the first Latvian to win a boxing world title, having held the WBC cruiserweight title from 2017 to 2018, and the WBO cruiserweight title in 2019. All three Baltic provinces preserved local laws, German as the local official language and their own parliament, the Landtag. ECDC will publish updates on the number of cases and deaths reported worldwide and aggregated by week every Thursday. Eastern Latvia was cleared of Red Army forces by Latvian and Polish troops in early 1920 (from the Polish perspective the Battle of Daugavpils was a part of the Polish–Soviet War). Latvia is part of the Schengen Area and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2014. In 1282, Riga, and later the cities of Cēsis, Limbaži, Koknese and Valmiera, became part of the Hanseatic League. Latvia has a long and successful tradition of extra-curricular education, called interest-related or hobby education.  It is among the lowest-ranked healthcare systems in Europe, due to excessive waiting times for treatment, insufficient access to the latest medicines, and other factors. In the same year, the United States of America exported $58.2 million of goods and services to Latvia and imported $87.9 million. , Since the early 1990s, Latvia has been involved in active trilateral Baltic states co-operation with its neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, and Nordic-Baltic co-operation with the Nordic countries. After centuries of German, Swedish, Polish-Lithuanian and Russian rule, a rule mainly executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away from the German empire and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. Transit between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan as well as other Asian countries and the West is large.  Latvia's Red Book (Endangered Species List of Latvia), which was established in 1977, contains 112 plant species and 119 animal species.  On 15 May 1934, Ulmanis staged a bloodless coup, establishing a nationalist dictatorship that lasted until 1940. , Starting in 2019 Latvia hosts the inaugural Riga Jurmala Music Festival, a new festival in which world-famous orchestras and conductors perform across four weekends during the summer. The Best Travel, Food and Culture Guides for Latvia, Europe - Local News & Top Things to Do The agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom on future relationship discussed at the Cabinet and the Saeima commissions. They have no citizenship of any country, and cannot vote in Latvia. A law expanding the scope for selling land, including to foreigners, was passed in 1997. Sorrel soup (skābeņu zupa) is also consumed by Latvians.  In 2011, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities "urged Latvia to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections.  The Balts established trade routes to Rome and Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals. , The IMF concluded the First Post-Program Monitoring Discussions with the Republic of Latvia in July 2012 announcing that Latvia's economy has been recovering strongly since 2010, following the deep downturn in 2008–09. Its largest lake, Lubāns, has an area of 80.7 km2 (31.2 sq mi), its deepest lake, Drīdzis, is 65.1 m (214 ft) deep. In 2010 Latvia launched a Residence by Investment program (Golden Visa) in order to attract foreign investors and make local economy benefit from it. Latvia.eu is Latvia’s official website where you’ll find information about Latvian culture, history, economy, society, sports and more, Get to know Latvia! Summers have average temperatures of around 19 °C (66 °F), with extremes of 35 °C (95 °F). Capital city Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. , Since March 2004, when the Baltic states joined NATO, fighter jets of NATO members have been deployed on a rotational basis for the Baltic Air Policing mission at Šiauliai Airport in Lithuania to guard the Baltic airspace.  Henry of Latvia coined the latinisations of the country's name, "Lettigallia" and "Lethia", both derived from the Latgalians. Throughout all the centuries, however, an actual Latvian state had not been established, so the borders and definitions of who exactly fell within that group are largely subjective. Latvia lies in Northern Europe, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and northwestern part of the East European Craton (EEC), between latitudes 55° and 58° N (a small area is north of 58°), and longitudes 21° and 29° E (a small area is west of 21°). The festival takes place at the Latvian National Opera, the Great Guild, and the Great and Small Halls of the Dzintari Concert Hall. , The four biggest ports of Latvia are located in Riga, Ventspils, Liepāja and Skulte.  It performs favorably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance, living standards, and peacefulness. Destination Latvia, one of the three Baltic states, situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania. The Commissioner nominated by Latvia to the European Commission is Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People. 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. The United Kingdom remains a major partner to Latvia and the EU; therefore, in the future, we would like to have as close as possible cooperation in safeguarding people’s interests, in security, defence, foreign affairs, trade, education and other matters. The Latvian diplomat is not responsible for relations with another nation — but with his own country’s diaspora. Latvia replaced its previous currency, the lats, with the euro on 1 January 2014, after a European Union assessment in June 2013 asserted that the country had met all convergence criteria necessary for euro adoption. The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia became an autonomous Russian province (the Courland Governorate) in 1795, bringing all of what is now Latvia into the Russian Empire. 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