Parliament approved the budget on Dec. 1 following hours of debate. (photo courtesy of Saeima)
RIGA - The Latvian parliament has approved next year's budget in its final reading.
The budget passed with a vote of 64 to 30 on Dec. 1. Mass protests took place outside the parliament building as lawmakers debated the budget.
Next year's budget has sparked controversy and received widespread criticism for the sharp cuts it makes to social spending.
A large amount had to be cut out of th budget in order to bring it in line with requirements given by international lenders, including the IMF and the EU.
OUT OF WORK
The budget was passed as new unemployment figures for the EU showed Latvia as again having the most unemployed in the union, eurostat reported.
Latvian unemployment broke 20 percent in November to reach 20.9%. The country also saw the largest year-on-year increase of unemployment, up from just over 9 percent over the same time period last year.
Lithuania had the second largest increase in unemployment, up to 13.8 percent from 4.8 percent last year.