RIGA - The planned organization of the “Europride” event in Riga in 2015, which is Europe's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and their friends' (LGBT) event, will open various opportunities for Latvia, including economic benefits, the United States Ambassador to Latvia Mark Pekala said in an interview with LETA.
“The 2015 “Europride” in Riga will take place simultaneously with Latvia's presidency of the European Union. This is a great opportunity for people to gather, and for Latvia's to gain positive publicity. Participants will bring many guests to the city. Riga's hotels and restaurants will be full, people will buy things, thus this event will bring in economic benefits,” the ambassador explained, emphasizing that organizers of the event have invested a lot of work for the “Europride” to be organized in Latvia, and they have earned words of praise.
The new U.S. ambassador to Latvia said that his predecessor, Judith Garber, was gratified to participate in this year's gay pride events in Riga together with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party). He said that the U.S. Embassy has good cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and other institutions on such matters.
Pekala believes that there has been quite a lot of progress in Latvia in regard to LGBT rights, and that the government and the Latvian people have earned praise in this area.
The ambassador reminded that United States expresses its support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activities in Latvia, as this corresponds with U.S. President Barack Obama's policy.
As reported, Riga has been selected as the 2015 host city for one of the biggest gay pride events in Europe - Europride.”
The Latvian capital won out over such formidable contenders as Barcelona, Milan and Manchester.
"Mozaika” – the local LGBT support group, with pride-organizing experience of many years, considers the selection major acknowledgement.
Meanwhile, in a recent survey carried out by the market, social and media research company "TNS Latvia" and the LNT television channel, 78 percent of economically-active residents of Latvia between the ages of 18 to 55 do not support Riga being the host city of “Europride” in 2015.