Discussion: How to involve persons without Latvian citizenship in the lives of municipalities? 1

As the next local election is approaching in 2017, we want to discuss the ways municipalities can incorporate all their inhabitants in the life of the municipality, also including people who do not hold Latvian citizenship. Indeed, what are the means beyond voting that may foster the realization of the full potential of this particular group in order to use their knowledge and skills for the promotion of local development?

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According to the latest Eurobarometer (Spring 2016), only 9% of the inhabitants of Latvia consider immigrants as having a positive contribution to the economy of Latvia. This is the lowest score across the EU, the EU average being 40%. Such a low score can in part be explained by the lack of information and understanding about the diversity of the immigrant community in Latvia – both regarding immigrants from other EU countries, as well as from other regions of the world (both developed regions, as North America, and developing regions, as the former USSR or the Middle East). The immigrant community in Latvia is internally heterogeneous also in terms of their access to participatory mechanisms on the municipal level, conditioned by their status (EU citizens can vote in local elections) and their Latvian language knowledge. In a way, the situation of immigrants can be compared to the situation of those who were born in Latvia but do not hold Latvian citizenship (they may be citizens elsewhere or hold the status of a non-citizen of Latvia).

Discussion points

1) Reviewing best practices in other countries that have successfully involved people without the respective citizenship in municipal activities

2) Skype interviews/videos from experts in Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands

2) Discussing the successful solutions and challenges for the involvement of people without Latvian citizenship in the lives of municipalities, with the participation of both the people belonging to this group, as well as decision-makers from various municipalities.

The topics to be discussed cover a wide spectrum – from personal experiences on an individual and group level, as well as the significance of local election rights.

The discussion will be moderated by Agnese Lāce, PROVIDUS policy analyst in the areas of migration and integration.

Time: October 27, 16:00-18:00.
Place: Riga city centre (to be confirmed).

In order to register for this discussion, please complete the following form.

If you have any further questions, please turn to Agnese Lāce, agnese.lace@providus.lv.

PROVIDUS is grateful to company NOEMA and Cafe Betty’s Corner for their support for this event.

The event is organised with the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union. Responsibility for the content of this event lies with the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS.

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