Travel Guides: Latvia
Latvia is a Baltic country in Northern Europe.
The capital city is Riga. The country’s western border is with the Baltic Sea. In the north and south, Latvia borders with Estonia and Lithuania and Russia in the east. It is a member of the European Union. Form of government: republic. Area: 65,000 sq km. Population: 2,530,000 inhabitants. Official language: Latvian. Religion: 66% Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic. Currency: lats. National Day: November 18. Time Zone: GMT + 2 / 3. Internet domain: .lv. Telephone: 00371. Latvia is situated in Northern Europe and is one of the Baltic States. The relief is predominantly low plain, covered with forests.
The climate is maritime, cool and moist. Temperatures reach -5 degrees C in January and 16 degrees C in July.
Surrounded by two other ex-Soviet countries, Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia has tried in recent years to build a national identity and a personality of its own. It did this in Riga, the capital, turning it into a Western and cosmopolitan city. There worth visiting also the surrounding rural areas, with charming landscapes and ancient historic castles. The capital of Latvia is situated on the shores of the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the river Daugava. Riga is the largest city in the the Baltic countries, being an important cultural, educational, political, financial and political center in the. The historic center of Riga was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the city is particularly noted for its Art Nouveau architecture (Jugendstil), can be compared in this regard only with Vienna, Prague or Barcelona.
Activities and attractions in Riga: Modern entertainment centers, offering complete range of facilities for bowling and beyond; Aqua Park, the largest water park in Northern Europe, Livu Aqua Park is open all year; Camping and canoe trips in Gauja National Park; Golf on shores of the Lake Kisezers; Kart racing indoor for a new experience of this kind. The room is equipped with timer and a bar used for pit-stops; Paintball, a fantastic activity for large groups; Snowboard and ski. Perhaps surprisingly, but in Latvia are ideal for beginners hills for winter sports enthusiasts, before heading to the Alps. All instructors in the resort speak English; Spa – Give yourself a well deserved relaxation treatment.
You can combine swimming in the pool with different types of massages and choose the type of water: cold for temper or hot for relaxing. Visit museums and other tourist attractions with an impressive architecture such as the Academy of Arts, National Theatre building, Mary Magdalene Church, Riga Cinema, Liberty Memorial, St. George, St. John Church, St. Peter’s Church, Riga Castle. Clubs and discos are the options for fun during the night. The city is distinguished by its architecture, a combination of Art Nouveau styles, medieval, typical Germanic and classic or eclectic. Central Market is one of the oldest and largest in Europe, a place full of color, built in several abandoned hangars; the German armies used them as garages.
Riga Castle was built as the residence of the Order of the Lithuanian, and now the Parliament House. History and Navigation Museum contains over 500,000 objects relating to Riga history and past of navigation in Latvia and the Latvian History Museum has important collections of archeology, ethnography, botany, geology and zoology. Automobile Museum exhibits cars that belonged to personalities such as Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev and life-size figures of their owners and Hebrew Museum is the only remaining synagogue in Riga, which is where the Jewish ghetto in WWII was.
Riga Cathedral is the largest in the Baltic and has a rooster on top of 2 feet tall and 158 kg. In the seventeenth century when construction was completed, was the largest wooden building in Europe. Jurmala city was always the most popular sea resort in the Baltic due to mineral water, a healthy climate and mud. In the central eastern coast of the Baltic Sea is Liepaja, former capital of the country in the First World War. It is divided into two areas: downtown and Karosta, a former secret Soviet military town. The city is very beautiful and has clean beaches with fine white sand and its headlights are first constructed in Latvia.
City’s cultural heritage is unique: the Swedish kings, German barons, the Russians and the Finns. Liepaja is considered the capital of Latvian rock music and has a very hectic nightlife. Trinity Church has a tower 55 meters high and a huge organ more than 7,000 pipes by the year 1912 being the biggest worldwide. Bunker, is a place that was supposedly full of nuclear weapons in Soviet times. It is located in the basement of a house and can be seen downtown radiation measurement equipment, documents, information and instructions on how to react in case of a nuclear explosion. Other attractions of the city are: amber clock, St. Joseph, House Craftsmen and Lake Liepaja.
Rezekne is one of the oldest towns of Latvia, situated on seven hills. This is an important cultural and educational center of the country, hosting many festivals and every two years Latgale TV Music Festival. Sigulda is known as the Latvian Switzerland, being a popular tourist destination. Its landscape is made up of many forests located along the Gauja River valley. Tourist attractions are: Turiada Castle, dating from the thirteenth century, the Tower, Sculpture Park dedicated to Latvian folklore and Sigulda Castle.
Located on the Baltic Sea coast, with an area of 64,589 km square, Latvia is considered one of the “hidden treasures” of Europe in terms of travel. With a rich and unpolluted nature, represented by numerous national parks, over 3,000 lakes, extensive forests and picturesque coast of the Baltic Sea, with a millennial history, today in this medieval towns, castles and palaces, Latvia is a tourist destination that deserves to be known. The main tourist cities are Riga – the capital lies in the Baltic bay with the same name, Cesis – situated in the Gauja National Park, Jurmala – the largest resort on the Baltic Sea and Sigulda – resort and historic town from the 13th century.
Latvia is one of the most interesting places in northern Europe, hidden from the eyes of the world for more than half a century of Soviet occupation. Everything is made of contrasts that characterize Latvia – buildings, landscapes, people, habits and experiences. Surprises occur at every corner, from small cafes to opera or ballet performances. The land on which is today Latvia was a circulation area for the Vikings from Norway to Russia and Central Europe, a few thousands years ago. History appears at every step, from oldest churches in Riga, to the church Krimulda, 800 years old which is located east of Riga. Do not forget to ask what events are taking place during your visit in this country. You have the opportunity to assist to the traditional celebrations, various cultural events and entertainment programs throughout the year.
If you move away from Riga or any other large city, you will quickly discover the landscape and rural areas of Latvia. Much of these lands is inhabited, or has never been explored. You have the opportunity to walk through the woods, blooming plains, stretched coast, small hills and beautiful lakes. You can choose from a variety of routes and trips. You can spend several weeks near a lake or river, away from the city noise.
Main attractions: Look for the locks left by the newlyweds on the locks on the bridges of Riga. They symbolize eternal love. Relax in Sigulda resort on the banks of the river Gauja. In the national park here you can see the castle Turaida from the XIII century and a sculpture park; the popular stories have been immortalized in stone. Admire the flora and fauna of the regions Kurzeme, Latgale and Vidzeme favorite for hiking enthusiasts. Slow down your pace a little for the charming village life in Bauska, Cesis, Kolka and Talsi. Track various species of birds in wetlands and agricultural lands in Latvia, which attracts an unusual number of birds, some very rare in other parts of Europe.
Visit castles with large parks such as Rundale and Jelgava, built in the seventeenth century by the aristocrats in the Zemgale region. Taste the rural life at the outdoor Ethnographic Museum. Founded in 1924, it is one of the oldest in Europe. Explore the capital Riga and admire the historical and cultural richness reflected in the remarkable diversity of architectural styles. The center of the city contains the most beautiful downtown building-up of Art Nouveau in Europe. Sit at a picnic near the highest waterfall of Latvia, at Kuldiga, on the banks of the river Venta. Go to Jurmala, the Baltic seaside resort, with an endless sandy beach.
In national parks like Gauja and Kemer you can hike and also you can admire the rich flora and fauna. Discover the pagan and Christian traditions in Latgale region. Listen to the unusual dialects of the Lettigale language. Gastronomy: Latvia specialties are meat pies (kotletes), cabbage soup (skabu kapostu) and pastry dough filled with strawberries (Alexander Torte) and bacon and onions (piragi). National drinks are Black Balsam, a thick black liquid, alcohol, kvass, a drink made from wine and mineral water. Shaking hands is the most common form of greeting. Latvian people are more reserved, but that does not mean they are not hospitable. Best time to visit Latvia is from June to September, when it is warm and the food is found in a wide variety. January and February are the coldest months and autumns are rainy.
Passport scheme – Simple Passport: no need for a short stay visa. Passport Service: no need for a short stay visa. Diplomatic Passport: no need for a short stay visa. Short period of stay: 90. Conditions of entry and residence regime: citizens may enter Latvia based on the identity card or valid passport showing nationality and may reside in that state for a period of up to 3 months without any condition or formality, other than to hold a card ID / passport that is valid. Additional information can be obtained from foreign embassies or consulates in Latvia.
To check the special conditions of entry and Latvian national legislation it is recommended consulting official data provided by the Latvian authorities. To overcome any difficulties it is recommended that the citizens to carry their passport when traveling within the European Union. Emergency Calls: 112: the common phone number for ambulances, police and firefighters. Customs Regulations: Latvian Customs Regulation contains provisions similar to those of other European Union countries. Quantitative limits for certain products: cigarettes: 200 pieces, one liter of alcoholic beverages, perfumes 50 g.
For further information, it is recommended consulting official data available on the website of the Latvian customs authority. Terrorist Threats: Terrorism is a global phenomenon, non-localized therefore Latvia can not be excluded from the face of this threat. Latvia has not suffered direct terrorist attacks on national territory. It is always recommended that you watch ads and recommendations made by the Latvian authorities and regularly visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Safety and crime: Types of common crimes: thefts from pockets, purses, cars, car theft, hijacking, fraud, trafficking in foreign currency. Minor offenses such as pick-pocketing, deception or theft of cars can occur in crowded areas (stations, stations, parking lots, shopping centers, gas stations or motorway service areas). General recommendations: Store documents in safe and personal values, money travel tickets, credit cards and do not expose them clearly on you or in cars; Cars must be locked and secured with alarm systems; If traveling by bus or train, keep out on the luggage throughout the journey.
To exit the cities, especially in crowded areas, leave personal documents in the hotel and keep only one copy of identity documents (passport, residence permit); Go to the group and rest stops to make short stay units around services (gas stations, motel, bar, restaurant); Move by car, only in daylight. In the event of incidents affecting the safety of persons or property, you should contact the local police and the nearest consular office. In case of serious incidents (accidents, robberies), which requires immediate action by the Latvian authorities, call 112 – emergency services (Ambulance, Police, Fire).
Warning! If you accidentally call 112, do not hang up! Otherwise, they can send a car where you are, to see if everything is okay. Medical System – Medical insurance is mandatory in Latvia. It is strongly recommended that you insure health care or to obtain a European Health Card before leaving on a trip. If you become ill or have an accident during a temporary stay in an EU Member State, E112 form or your European Health Insurance will give you access to necessary medical care. This card will allow you to receive necessary healthcare during a temporary stay in any EU country.
It’s good for supplementary medical insurance that is valid in all countries. On the basis of such insurance is optional, you have access to emergency services from both public health and the private (depending on the type of insurance policy). At the conclusion of such a security check details of insurance company partners in the country of destination and transit. It is recommended that you finish, before departure, travel insurance. This is valid in all countries and can cover the basic risks (illness, accident, dental emergencies, repatriation, health or death) to all travel risks, including loss / theft / damage to baggage, cancellation of leave for abroad, airline bankruptcy, and others.
Life insurance has proved beneficial to the families of those killed in accidents or due to illness. In the European Union you do not need special vaccinations. Warning! In the warm season, people who intend to make hiking through forests or areas with lakes should consult a physician before performing these movements, to determine whether to be vaccinated against TBE (Tick-Borne-Encephalitis). Conditions of road traffic – Movement of vehicles: in Latvia it is driven on the right side of the road; roads:
The general condition of roads and road infrastructure is quite good.
Using mobile phones while driving is prohibited; Permissible speed limits: 50 km / h in town, 90 km / h on the highway in winter, 100 km / h on the highway during the summer; Parking: Parking can be indicated only in specially guarded places. Parking in these places is paid. Safety belt use is mandatory; Anti-radar devices and radar detection: On the territory of Latvia are prohibited possession and use of radar detection devices, and radar equipment. They constitute a crime and is punishable by a fine may be appealed to the administrative territorial court.
Driving license: Driving Permit is recognized in the territory of Latvia. Information for cases of accidents: Regardless of the severity of road accident, the person concerned must provide first aid to the victim and notify the nearest police station. The place of accident can not be left only with the consent of the police officer. Using credit cards: Credit cards are accepted such as Visa, Mastercard, etc.
Customs Regulations: There are no checks at internal borders among the signatory states to the Schengen Agreement: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland (the latter three are not EU members). For reasons of public order, public health or national security, internal EU border controls may be placed for limited periods. Quantitative limits for the introduction of certain products are: cigarettes: 200 pieces, 1 liter of alcoholic beverages, perfume 50 ml or 250 ml eau de toilette.
Drug regime: This excludes both incoming and outgoing drugs of any type and doping substances. Warning! Do not take your medicines with you, but only the quantities strictly necessary! It is recommended you have your prescription for drugs that go beyond the usual. Antibiotics should not be issued only on prescription. Conditions for pets: For the EU, you need the European passport for your pet. This document can be obtained from the veterinarian and must contain information on rabies vaccination. The animal must be identified by an electronic microchip. By July 2011, is also acceptable, a clearly readable tattoo.
Consular Assistance: As an EU citizen, you may ask, if necessary, to issue a travel document to return to the country from the EU countries’ diplomatic missions based in Latvia. Area: 63,935 sq km. Population: 2.7 million inhabitants. Population density: 42 inhabitants per sq km. Capital: Riga 915,000 inhabitants (52% Latvians, 34% Russians). Past History: It achieved independence in 1918 after it was under German control, Swedish, Polish and Russian. Occupied by Germany from 1940 to 1944, became part of the USSR in 1944. It became independent in 1991, when it was admitted to the United Nations.
Economy: Industrial development has the effect of a high income per capita. It is important manufacturing diesel locomotives, electric trains, electronics, cars, motorcycles, telecommunications, agricultural machinery, household products. Privatization of industry is encouraged. Peat deposits cover 10% of the country and are used as a source of energy. Tourism is rising, especially along the Baltic Sea coast, which are major ports of Riga and Ventspils. Agriculture: Draining marshes made productive agriculture. It is important for dairy cattle breeding and raising pigs and the main crops are sugar beet, flax, potatoes and cereals.
Capital: Riga. Form of government: Unicameral parliamentary democracy with 100 seats elected by popular vote, based on proportional representation, for a period of four years. Mountains: The landscape consists of fertile plains, mostly covered by forest (pine). There are mountains in Latvia. The highest peak: Kalns Galzina 312 m; Sea: Latvia’s Baltic Sea gives 531 km of coast line. Climate: Temperate – continental average temperatures are between 5 and 15 degrees. Neighborhood: Baltic Sea, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and Belarus. Main Cities: Riga, Valmiera, Aluksne, Jurmala, Jeigava, Liepaja, Ventspils.
Administrative Divisions: 26 districts and 7 municipalities. Time Zone: UTC + 2. Country code (phone): 371. Radio emission waves: AM 8, FM 56, an ultra-short (1998). Medieval – Territory: Latvia territory was occupied since 9000 BC by proto-Baltic tribes. Country Name: “Latvia” (in English) comes from the ancestors Latgaliani. Latgaliani people were among the first four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the central part of Latvia’s ethnic groups (by 8-12 centuries). The territory became, gradually, under the control of Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians. After the Second World War, Latvia declared republic but was annexed by the USSR in 1940. Latvia regained independence in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Modern – Politics: Latvia joined NATO and the EU in 2004. Federation relations with Russia are limited and strained because of discontent with the Russians about the Latvian language and citizenship rules. Independence: Obtained on November 18, 1918 in front of Soviet Russia. Organization: The number of tourists increases from year to year in Latvia. Since 2000 the number of tourists increased by 12% every year. In 2004 Latvia had 3.033 million tourists, with 22.8% more than in 2003. For the first time in 10 years Latvia has recorded a total of over 3 million tourists. Tourism industry focuses more on the Latvian capital, Riga.
What to see: Riga – the capital of Latvia, Sigulda – tourist location for winter activities, Aglona Basilica – the most important Roman Catholic shrine in the world, Latvian Occupation Museum, Museum of Horns & Antlers – this museum is located in 518 antlers, all collected by a guard at the national park. When to go: During spring when the weather is favorable being warm and pleasant days are long and the flowers bloom. July and August (months seasonal) are perfect months to visit the Baltic Sea but on the other hand are the most crowded and rainy with possible thunderstorms. Autumn is the time to be avoided because of the snow starts to fall, just as March when the snow melts.
Events: Independence Day – November 18 (November 18, 1918 Latvia declared its Independence in front of Soviet Russia and Latvia on 21 August 1991 and actually gained independence from Soviet Union). Population density: 36 persons / km²; Population Distribution: Urban 66% / 34% Rural (2005); Birth rate: 9.43 to 1000 inhabitants. Death rate: 13.64 to 1000 inhabitants. Average Age: 39.6 years. Education Rates: 99.7% – People who know how to read and write (more than 15 years). Unemployment rate: 6.5% (2006). Ethnic Groups: Latvian 57.7%, Russia 29.6%, Belarus 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Poles 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4% and others 2% (2002).
Emigrants: 2.27 persons per 1,000 inhabitants. Language: Latvian (official) 58.2%, 37.5% Russian, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000). Religion: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox. Transport: airplane, car, bus, ship, train. Shipping routes: 300 km (2006). Highways / Roads: 69.532 km, Railways 2.303 km, Airports 42, Ports 2. Coin: Latvian Lat. Gross Domestic Product: $ 36.49 billion (total) (2006). Minimum Wage: 90 lats per month. Average salary: 100 lats per month. Industries: Buses, trucks, cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, electricity, radios, food processing, textiles. Agriculture Products: Sugar beet, potatoes, vegetables, beef, pork, milk, eggs, fish.
Money Advice: Hotel accommodation 800-100, restaurant meals 2-20. Personalities: Rutanya Alda (1942 – present) – Riga-born actress who starred in these films: Momma Dearest, The Deer Hunter, Amityville II: The Possession, Crime Scene Investigation, Beauty and the Beast; Krišjānis Barons (1835 – 1923) – is known as “Father of the dainas”, dainas being music and lyrics of traditional poetry in the Baltic region. His portrait appears on the bill of 100 lats, the only human portrait that appears on their banknotes; Ed Leedskalnin (1887-1951) – Sculptor born in Latvia after that migrated to America where he built Coral Castle in Florida, USA. Leedskalnin claimed that there’s a magnetic levitation secrets used to build pyramids in Egypt; Janis Lusis (1939 – present) – the only athlete (javelin throwing) from Latvia who won all the medals (gold, silver, bronze) in Olympic games; Marija Naumova (1973 – present) – Latvian singer who won first place in Eurovision 2002 competing with the song “Wanna”; Dr. Konstantīns Raudive (1919 – 1974) – writer and psychologist, claimed that he found ways to communicate with spirits from the afterlife: “Raudive Voices”.
Counties: Aizkraukle District; Aluksne District; District Balve; Bauska District; District Cēsis; Daugavpils District; Dobele District; District Gülben; District Jēkabpils; Jelgava District; District Krāslava; District Kuldīga; Liepāja District; District Limbaži; District Ludza; Madona District; Ogre District; District Preiļi; District Rēzekne; Riga District; Saldus District; Talsi District; Tukums District; Valka District; Valmiera District; Ventspils District. UNESCO World Heritage List included the following objectives in Latvia: historic Old Town of Riga (1997), Struve Geodetic Arc (on the territory of Latvia) (2005).
Baltic Sea coast tribes were conquered in the thirteenth century by order of German knights of the Order of the Sword Brothers, which had the mission to conquer the Baltic region and to Christianize it. The region was part of Livonia until 1561, and in 1562 it was conquered by Poland. From 1629 until 1721 the region was occupied by the Swedes, and from 1721 to 1918 Latvia was ruled by Russia. Russian Revolution of 1917 created the opportunity for freedom, so that Latvia declared its independence on November 18, 1918. Republic lasted less than 20 years, being occupied by Russian troops in 1939 and entered into the Soviet Union. From the 70,000 Hebrew who lived in Latvia, 95% were massacred in the Second World War.
When the 1991 coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev failed, the Baltic nations have found an opportunity to escape the Soviets, in 1991 Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, declaring their independence. Because the identity of Latvians had been oppressed by foreign rulers, the new republic established strict laws, limiting citizenship to ethnic Latvians and those living in the country before the Soviet leadership. Thus, approximately 452,000 ethnic Russians have not received citizenship. In 2004 Latvia became a member of NATO and the European Union.
Latvia is a state since 1918, following the Paris Peace Treaty and territories granting the ethnic-linguistic basis. Before 1918, Latvia was a province of the Russian Empire headed by a governor appointed by the Tsar. Its name was Livonia and its territory included southern Estonia today. Livonia denomination dates from the first German occupation of the Baltic territories, from the thirteenth century and is derived from the word Liv, which designated the original inhabitants. Baltic territory populated by these Livs was gradually colonized by a German population in search of new lands and sources of income. The pretext of the presence of the German population was growing Christianization of the pagan population still in the early 1200.
They were involved in this strategy and especially the German Catholic Church Episcopal Bremen and Knights of the Sword Brothers, a military group that had lost all purpose in Germany once the Crusades had were at their end. Initially the two institutions have decided to work together to divide the territories acquired after the relationship has become competitive and confrontational. After an initial response to the natives that lasted over 100 years, Germans have managed to acquire the majority of local territories either by force or by robbery, or through illegal allocations. In this way, died one of the most bellicose tribes Baltic Prussia. Knights Germans systematically exterminated presence of Prussian Baltic territory, after adopting their name.
Riga was founded in 1201, built on the site of an ancient settlement of livs. The city became the seat of the bishop of Bremen, now Riga – Albert. Due to the presence of German increasingly numerous, Riga became the most important commercial center in the Baltic bay at the mouth of the Daugava River. In less than 100 years, Riga has already become an active member with full rights in the Hanseatic League. The local population, regardless of tribal affiliation, was excluded from the city administration, with a pariah status. Riga is a city since the early 1210 mostly German and will remain so for the next 700 years.
The 1520s German affects the status of believers in Riga, when, under the strong influence of Lutheranism, Knights of the Sword Brethren Catholic Church tries to steal all the properties. Local population is also involved, even indirectly, in this feud, and many locals to convert from Lutheranism following promises to those who promoted it against the presence of the Catholic Church. The economies of the ten ex-communist countries, now members of the European Union, seem to recover from serious crisis that has affected them, but this recovery depends mainly on the economic situation in Western Europe.
Economic recovery is under development throughout the region indicating that each of the 10 economies should be to increase next year. After the economy of this region shrank by 3.5% in 2009, estimates the World Bank for the 10 countries, including Latvia show an increase of 1.8% this year and 3.2% in 2011. Poland, a country of 38 million people, appears to be top of the list in the top of states whose economy has recovered rapidly, being really the only state in the 27 States, which has seen growth in 2009, registering a growth rate of 1.7% of gross domestic product. Moreover, it is estimated that economic growth should reach 3.5% in 2010 and 4.1% in 2011.
Other economic engine is Slovakia, which depends upon the production of automobile and electronics exports. However, the country began to recover from the economic contraction of 4.7% last year. According to World Bank, Slovakia can expect an increase of 4.1% in 2010 and 4.2% in 2011. Estonia and Lithuania, known as two of the “Baltic tiger economies” are now quite far from stability, their economies knowing a double-digit contraction, following drastic austerity measures. Still, the economy of these countries is expected to grow by 2.0% in 2010 and more than 3.0% in 2011.
Growth in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia would be more modest, ranging from 0-2% in 2010 and reaching around 2.5% in 2011. Only the economies of Latvia and Romania were expected to decline in 2010, 0.4% and 1.9% respectively, reflecting the intensity of this crisis in those countries that have experienced an economic unsustainable boom. In 2008 and 2009, Latvia’s economy has declined by 25%, its deepest recession in the world, according to International Monetary Fund.
In 2011, growth should be around 3.3% in Latvia and 1.5% in Romania, the World Bank report shows. Future exports, loans and employment in the EU10 depend primarily on a strong rebound in the EU15. Out of the EU15 global financial crisis could be slow and followed by a relapse. The new tensions in the financial sector could be extended to the EU10 countries, warned the World Bank. Hierarchy may be so because differentiated and that 8 of the 10 former communist countries joined the EU in 2004 along with Malta and Cyprus, while Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007. Latvia strongly affected by global economic crisis, posted a third quarter loss of 18.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) over the same period in 2008, and the first price decline in annual terms since winning independence from 1991.
The figures on the evolution of the economy from one quarter to another, depends on seasonal variations. The raw data of Latvia’s economy grew by 4% in the third quarter from the previous quarter. Consumer prices fell 0.9% in October compared with October 2008, according to data published by the Latvian office of statistics. Compared to September, they fell by 0.2%. Average annual rate of inflation, one of the Maastricht criteria for entry into the euro area dropped from 5.5% in October from 6.7% in September. Deflation is the sign of the serious downturn in the small Baltic state is maintained and from which it is difficult to escape. Consumers spend late in the hope of new price drops, leading to lower demand and investment.
Increasing unemployment causes, also requests and trains crashes economy into a vicious circle. In the second quarter, Latvia’s economy had fallen by 18.7% over the same quarter of 2008, after a first quarter decline of 18% over the same period of 2008 and 28.7% over the last quarter of 2008. Latvian central bank expects a 17% drop in full-year economy. Baltic State, which until recently recorded the highest growth in the European Union at the end of 2008 obtained a loan of 7.5 billion in a bailout led by the IMF, the EU participate in March, 1 billion. International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged Latvia to slow down economic growth to prevent such a possible overheating of the economy.
Latvia has to slow down economic growth to build a medium-term sustainable growth. Latvia’s accession to the EU in May 2004, Latvia has recently started to record strong growth in domestic demand, but the country’s economy became more vulnerable in certain sectors. Among the economic indicators followed with concern the IMF include significant budget deficit, increasing external indebtedness, rising wages and prices, and increased home prices associated with an increasing number of transactions in foreign currencies without guarantees against risks.
There were recommended to the Riga authorities to take measures to limit credit growth, to strengthen banking regulation and make Latvian exports more competitive. In addition, the IMF officials have recommended postponing the date on which would be adopted to reduce income tax and a tax on real estate transactions. Last year, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Latvia increased by 10.2 percent, representing the highest growth rate recorded by Latvia since independence in 1991. In the last quarter of last year, Latvia’s GDP increased just 10.5 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2004. However, in April 2006, Latvia has recorded an inflation rate of 6.1 percent.
Latvia recorded a drop in fourth-quarter record of 10.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), the former “Baltic tiger” going into the deepest recession in the European Union. Baltic State, with 2.3 million inhabitants, which has continued to be the champion of economic growth until 2006, a decrease of GDP for the second consecutive quarter, after a compression by 4.6% in the third quarter. The unemployment rate rose in January to 8.3% of the active population from 7% in December, considering that inflation continued to slow to 9.8%, compared with 10.5% in December.
Latvia, Iceland and Ukraine are European economies that have been hardest hit by the crisis. Latvia’s economy has returned to 2005 levels. The decline came after the end of a housing boom, after the global credit market freezing and after deducting consumption. Once in 2006, Latvia has scored a new record of economic growth in the European Union, 12.2%, Compressing economy with 10.5% in the fourth quarter of 2008 was the strongest recorded in compiling the statistics, in 1995.11