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European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Full name Republic of Latvia
Founded on November 18, 1918
Population 2.37 million
Area 64 589 sq. km
Total length of national border 1 800 km
Borders with other countries Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania
Capital city Riga (population: around 800,000)
Currency lats (LVL). One lats consists of 100 santims. The lats has been the currency since May 1993
Official language Latvian
Head of State President, who is elected by the Saeima for a period of 4 years. The President promulgates laws, appoints the Prime Minister and performs representative functions. The current president, Ms Vaira Vike-Freiberga, was elected in July 1999.
Type of government Democratic, parliamentary republic. Legislative power is in the hands of a single-chamber parliament – the Saeima, composed of 100 deputies. Parliamentary elections take place every 4 years. The last parliamentary elections took place in the autumn of 1998.
Application for EU accession 27 October 1995
Country information


After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia continues to revamp its economy for eventual integration into various Western European political and economic institutions.

Latvia is situated at an intersection of trade routes and has long served as a bridge between Western Europe and Russia. The famous "route from the Vikings to the Greeks" mentioned in ancient chronicles stretched from Scandinavia through Latvian territory along the Daugava River to the ancient Russia and the Byzantine Empire.

Latvia’s three major ports are Ventspils, Riga and Liepaja. Ventspils is the largest port in the Baltic Sea region and is among the 15 leading Europen ports in terms of cargo turnover.

Sectors of the economy

Electronics and mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, wood processing, food processing, textiles, info technologies. The largest trading partner is the European Union.


Latvia is located in north-eastern Europe on the Baltic Sea. The landscape is marked by lowland plains and rolling hills. Most of the territory is less than 100 metres above sea level. Forests cover more than 40 percent of the country. Latvia’s weather is temperate. The average summer temperature is 18 degrees Celsius, the average winter temperature –5.

Reports on drugs situation

National Reports

Other documents

Disclaimer © European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002
The texts, reports and publications in this section have been provided by the candidate countries' national focal points. The findings, conclusions and interpretations in these documents are those of the authors alone and do not represent the policy of the EMCDDA, its partners, any EU Member State or any agency or institution of the European Union or European Communities.

documents in English     documents in national language

Related Websites
  1. European Commission: Enlargement: Candidate Country: Latvia - This page provides an introduction to Latvia's country profile, an overview of of key documents related to enlargement, press releases and interesting links.
  2. Narcomania - Drug Prevention Centre of the Riga City Council
  3. Narkologijas centrs - State Centre for Drug Control and Drug Abuse Prevention
  4. AIDS profilakses centrs - AIDS Prevention Centre
  5. Rîgas Bçrnu tiesîbu aizsardzîbas centrs - Riga Children Rights Prevention Centre
  6. iCentrs - Educational Centre for Family and School (NGO)
  7. Latvian Legislation in English - The TTC is the primary linguistic bridge for Latvia`s successful participation in the international community.
  8. Sabiedrîbas veselîbas aìentûra - State Health Agency

documents in English     documents in national language     bilingual websites

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