Latvija in brief - 2011-05-26

  • 2011-05-25

On May 27, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) and Swedish economist Anders Aslund will present their book called ‘How Latvia came through the Financial Crisis,’ reports LETA. Dombrovskis says that many international economic experts have acknowledged Latvia as a good example of overcoming the economic crisis. In a short period of time, the government has consolidated the budget and implemented necessary structural reforms, so as to gradually stabilize the situation and move towards sustainable development. “We wish to share our experience with the international community and revive Latvia’s good name around the world,” said the prime minister. The book analyzes the circumstances and decisions made that caused the crisis, as well as the decisions made by the Latvian government to overcome the crisis. The presentation of the book will take place at noon at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.

The transit of illicit commodities is a type of organized crime that is characteristic of the Baltic States, as one of the five organized crime hubs in Europe, according to the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency Europol’s report ‘Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2011,’ reports LETA.  The northeast hub, which consists of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Kaliningrad, remains a focus for transit of illicit commodities to and from the former Soviet Union and a base for violent poly-criminal groups with international reach. Criminals in the northeast hub are active in cocaine trafficking, despite a lack of substantial local demand. In this region, in particular, the EU currently serves as a transit point for supply to the Russian Federation, with Lithuanian groups engaged in trafficking from Latin America via West Africa and the southwest and northwest hubs.  Lithuanian groups play an important role in the trafficking of synthetic drugs to the Russian Federation, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. In the northeast hub and the Nordic countries, Lithuanian groups have strengthened their role in the supply of amphetamine, methamphetamine and ecstasy-type stimulants, emphasizes Europol.

The number of jobseekers dropped 20.1 percent in the first quarter this year as compared with the same period last year, according to the Central Statistical Bureau data, reports In the first quarter, 188,300 jobseekers were registered in Latvia, or 16.6 percent of the economically-active population. In the first quarter last year, the figure was 235,800. The proportion of jobseekers in Lithuania was 17.2 percent in the first quarter this year, and 14.2 percent in Estonia. According to the State Employment Agency data, the average unemployment rate in Latvia in the first quarter this year was 14.4 percent. More than a half of the unemployed, 57.5 percent, or 108,200 people, were long-term unemployed, which is 16,400 more than in the first quarter last year.