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Latvia

Yearbook 2019

Latvia. In January, the EU parliamentarian and former finance minister Krišjānis Kariņš was nominated from the Liberal New Unit as Prime Minister. It was three months after the parliamentary elections, and two politicians had failed to form government. Kariņš formed a center-right coalition with five of Parliament's seven parties. He said the government's goal was to fight corruption and cleaning up the country's financial system.

2019 Latvia

According to CountryAAH, the Governor of the Central Bank Ilmārs Rimšsvičs was suspended from his post and was investigated for bribery in Latvia. But the European Court of Justice said in February that there was insufficient evidence against Rimšēvičs and that his suspension was contrary to EU rules. Rimšēvičs was able to resume his post as well as his seat on the European Central Bank, ECB Council.

Later, however, Rimšēvičs was prosecuted for bribery and participation in money laundering. It was the first time a central bank governor from the euro area and a member of the ECB's council were charged with corruption. He denied the charges, but at the end of the year, the trial, which was expected to last a long time, began.

Rimšēvič's case hampered Latvia's work on financial crime in the banking sector, which was in deep crisis of confidence. The major bank ABLV was in liquidation following allegations from the US about money laundering, PNB Banka had to be wound up following a decision by the ECB, and Swedbank in Latvia was suspected of involvement in Russian money laundering.

Under pressure from the United States, Latvia had abandoned the Swiss-like banking secrecy that had attracted customers from former Soviet states to bring illegal money into the EU market. But the US was pushing for new anti-money laundering legislation. In June, Parliament decided to strengthen its control of the Financial Supervisory Authority, prompting its chief to resign.

According to Eurostat, Latvia was the worst in the EU in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions in twenty countries decreased, in eight they increased and most in Latvia. In 2018, emissions increased by 8.5% compared to the previous year.

Parliament elected Egils Levits as the country's new president. Levits has been a parliamentarian and minister of justice as well as a judge of the European Court of Justice. As a child, his family was expelled from Latvia when the Soviet KGB saw the parents as the state's enemies. Therefore, Levits grew up and educated himself in West Germany.

Russian TV channel Rossiya RTR was banned from broadcasting in Latvia for three months, accused of hate propaganda against Ukrainians and Ukraine. Later, nine other Russian channels were banned on the grounds that a partner has ties to the Kremlin and is subject to EU sanctions.

In October, Parliament decided that children born in Latvia to non-citizens should automatically be granted citizenship in the country, if the parents approve it. About 270,000 residents, 11%, are without citizenship close to three decades after Latvia's independence. Almost everyone is Russian-speaking.

In December, Parliament decided on a new head of the Central Bank of Latvia, the economist Mārtiņš Kazāks.

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