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Latvia: Immigration law amendments
26th May 2014
Latvian parliament adopted amendments to the Immigration Law in Latvia on May 8th, 2014. The amendments will come into force on September 1, 2014. Changes refer to the minimum thresholds of the property that qualifies for temporary residence permit.

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Foreign relations of Latvia

Latvia is an active participant in the international arena - the country has a number of embassies, is a member of various international organizations and participates in the international affairs decision-making on various levels. The governmental organization responsible for handling these relations is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.

Being located in Europe and having limited political resources, Latvia mostly concentrates on building relations with countries of the Northern hemisphere, particularly those belonging to the Western society. Latvia's foreign relations are also influenced by its past - a couple of decades ago the country was the part of the USSR, and this context affects Latvia's relations with the all the other former Soviet countries.

Latvian diplomatic missions

Excluding honorary consulates, Latvia has a diplomatic mission/diplomatic missions in 37 countries. This includes both embassies, consulates, consular departments and other missions. Here you can see the full list of diplomatic missions of Latvia:

CountryCityDiplomatic mission typeRegion
EgyptCairoEmbassyAfrica
CanadaOttawaEmbassyAmerica
United StatesWashington, DCEmbassyAmerica
AzerbaijanBakuEmbassyAsia
ChinaBeijingEmbassyAsia
GeorgiaTbilisiEmbassyAsia
IndiaNew DelhiEmbassyAsia
IsraelTel AvivEmbassyAsia
JapanTokyoEmbassyAsia
KazakhstanAstanaEmbassyAsia
Republic of KoreaSeoulEmbassyAsia
TurkeyAnkaraEmbassyAsia
United Arab EmiratesAbu DhabiEmbassyAsia
UzbekistanTashkentEmbassyAsia
AustriaViennaEmbassyEurope
BelarusMinskEmbassyEurope
VitebskConsulateEurope
BelgiumBrusselsEmbassyEurope
Czech RepublicPragueEmbassyEurope
DenmarkCopenhagenEmbassyEurope
EstoniaTallinnEmbassyEurope
FinlandHelsinkiEmbassyEurope
FranceParisEmbassyEurope
GermanyBerlinEmbassyEurope
BonnConsulateEurope
GreeceAthensEmbassyEurope
HungaryBudapestEmbassyEurope
IrelandDublinEmbassyEurope
ItalyRomeEmbassyEurope
LithuaniaVilniusEmbassyEurope
MoldovaChișinăuEmbassyEurope
NetherlandsThe HagueEmbassyEurope
NorwayOsloEmbassyEurope
PolandWarsawEmbassyEurope
RussiaMoscowEmbassyEurope
KaliningradConsular DepartmentEurope
Saint PetersburgConsulate-GeneralEurope
PskovConsulateEurope
SpainMadridEmbassyEurope
SwedenStockholmEmbassyEurope
UkraineKievEmbassyEurope
United KingdomLondonEmbassyEurope

Closest political neighbours

Latvia has the closest political ties with neighbouring countries and countries it shares common history with. In this context, the term 'political ties' does not necessarily mean alliances or trade networks, but rather active political dialogue and special attention to each others political landscape.

Historically, Latvia's closest political ties have been with Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Sweden. Culture-wise, Lithuania is the closest neighbour of Latvia, which has always been the foundation for cooperation, trade and political alliances. Estonia is also is a Baltic country (the other ones are Lithuania and Latvia itself), sharing much of Latvia's history due to geographical proximity. The three Baltic states were further brought closer by common efforts in gaining independence from the USSR, distinguished by such culturally-political events such as the Baltic Way - a human chain of 675.5 km, spanning across all three countries in a move promoting independence.

As Latvia is an important trading hub on the Baltic Sea thanks to its geographical location (which nowadays is used as a part of logistics system of Latvia), Sweden, Russia (its former incarnations) and Germany have vied for power over the country. Germany was the first to conquer the territories of modern Latvia and instill its culture and political power over the region. This is why in the past Germany was seen by Latvia as a political enemy. Nowadays, when both Germany and Latvia are the member-states of the EU, the political discourse has shifted and Germany is seen as one of the allies.

Similarly to Germany, Sweden has conquered parts of modern Latvia's territory in the past. Unlike Germany, however, these times are seen in a more positive light, as Sweden improved the economical and social situation of Latvia. Nowadays, similarly to Germany, Sweden is an EU ally of Latvia.

Russia's political influence on Latvia has had the most recent and lasting impact on the country. Latvia has been a part of the Russian Empire for a long time, and later the country was included in the USSR, and Latvia regained its independence only in 1991. This made Russia - Latvia relations an active political discourse, where Latvia sees Russia as a political opponent. This view has become even more highlighted since Latvia joined the EU, become an active political supporter of European policies.

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