Covid-19 has influenced every sphere of life not only in Latvia but all over the world. Social life of Latvian inhabitants this year faced plethora of changes due to emergency situation. Additionally, Latvia still has a problem of aging population and population decrease in general. This year educational system of Latvia was forced to quickly adapt significant changes and successfully implemented remote learning for the whole population. At the same time, it was very important to track people’s opinion about the social and economic situation in the country. In this social briefing the following main social and socio-economic results of the year in Latvia will be summarized:
Population statistics trends of year 2020;
Attitude of the population towards Covid-19 news;
Main changes in the sector of education due to Covid-19;
The main focus of Latvian internal politics in 2020 was put on the mitigation of the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis. Emergency measures were amended, strengthened or supplemented all the time, which required constant work of Parliament and Government. The “Law on the Management of the Spread of Covid-19 Infection” has been adopted by Latvian Cabinet of Ministers during 2020 to establish a general legal order after the end of the emergency by providing appropriate precautionary measures. The rapid decision-making process and consultations of politicians with healthcare experts led to the fact that during the first wave of coronavirus Latvia has been relatively successful in terms of dealing with Covid-19 crisis. Nevertheless, the mitigation of the consequences of the second wave of Covid-19 requires more political will and teamwork from the current government. “This crisis is possibly the biggest crisis we have faced since the restoration of independence… I am confident that with government and society working together we will overcome this virus,” Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš concluded. Along with this, several important political events like extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council and administrative-territorial reform made their way to the political agenda of 2020.
Latvia’s foreign policy priorities in 2020 were mainly aimed at overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. Challenges faced by Latvia in its external relations have been reinforced by the coronavirus outbreak in the world. It means Latvian foreign policymakers worked especially hard to set and reach foreign policy goals for 2020. Pandemic brought a special focus on external cooperation and the importance of multilateralism and the importance of transatlantic partnership for Latvia and Baltic states, as well as raised discussions about challenges of globalization processes. The summary of the most remarkable foreign policy events and priorities in 2020 is presented below.
The attention of Latvian society currently is focused on Covid-19 and its consequences. But we should not forget that this year for Latvian politics is the year of municipal elections. It is planned to hold elections on Saturday, 5 June 2021, but the experience of 2020 shows that Covid-19 pandemic can introduce any changes to any plans. However, the municipal elections are not far away anyway and will be a major political event in Latvia this year. In turn, elections of Parliament will take place next year.
The last year 2020 the world has faced a severe challenge that hit every country. It was not possible to forecast such a widespread Covid-19 and all the consequences it brought as it is never possible to predict something uncontrollable by its nature. However, Latvia is fighting the virus as the whole world does, and it is needed to make a prognosis regarding the future of the country’s economy in the nearest future. 2021 is going to be a year of recovery after Covid-19 crisis. However, the first half of the year is going to be under restrictive measures, so the improvement of the economic situation is more likely to happen in the second half of 2021.
In general, the Latvian economy suffered less other European countries as measures taken by the government were less strict and friendlier for the maintenance of the economy. Nonetheless, as a result of the pandemic, several significant issues need to be fixed in 2021: vaccination schedule, export recovery, reduction of unemployment, an increase of the consumption among the population, decrement of the government deficit and as a result debt ratio. Besides, the introduction of the mandatory minimum state social insurance contribution rate may negatively impact the Latvian economy in 2021.
There is great hope for 2021 not only from the economic point of view but regarding every aspect of the life of society.
*This article has been made in cooperation with China-CEE institute and is the intellectual property of China-CEE institute
EQUALS-EU: the first project meeting took place on January 20th
On January 20 Institute of Economics participated in the first project meeting for HORIZON-2020 project “EQUALS-EU: Europe’s Regional Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age”. Due to pandemic situation, 1st Consortium meeting took part in online format through ZOOM platform. After quick round of introduction and presentation of the project idea, Consortium members from 19 countries have discussed work packages structure and first steps to be taken in order to achieve project goals.
EQUALS-EU aims to promote gender equity in social innovation and helps eliminate gender bias by directly integrating and raising the profile of women and girls as leaders in social innovation and entrepreneurship. It is focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and power skills and leadership positions in the ICT industry.
We are really looking forward for great collaboration with all partners, even greater outcome and new horizons opening for women in science, business and innovation!
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nr. 101006396.