Latvia's 10 years in the European Union: public opinion and decision making practices LATVIEŠU

  • Author:Iveta Kažoka
  • Organization:PROVIDUS, PASOS
  • Year:2014
  • Language:English

The study evaluates the participation of officials and citizens, including their own assessment.

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The overview pays attention to the first steps Latvia took after joining the EU, the attitude of Latvia’s citizens towards its EU membership, the level of citizen participation in EU decision making and views on Latvia’s ability to advocate its own interests in the Union.

The author of the study, PROVIDUS researcher Iveta Kazoka, concludes that Latvia is one of the new member states that is highly integrated within the EU system. For example, not all states that joined the EU at the same time as Latvia have become members of the Schengen Area or the Euro zone.

Moreover, data show that in comparison to other EU member states Latvian citizens are optimistic about further EU integration and the future of the Union.

Only around 28-33% of respondents can be classified as “deeply Eurosceptic.”

Since joining the European Union Latvia has gone through an admirable increase in its GDP (per capita) at purchasing power parity: from 47% to 67% of average EU levels. Out of the 12 new member states this constitutes the second largest increase. For some new member states this measure has not only stayed constant but decreased.

With regard to participation in decision making, only 19% of Latvian residents believe that they can influence EU decisions. Latvia (together with Italy) has the lowest score in this category.

In addition, among Latvians the belief that the European Union takes into account their interests is extremely low, significantly lower than in Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Poland.

At the same time, as the author of the study writes, interviews not only highlight isolated successes in attempting to influence EU policy, but also the noteworthy progress that has been made in terms of the knowledge and skills needed to fight for favourable solutions for Latvia.

(Latvia's 10 years in the European Union: public opinion and decision making practicespdf)

(Latvijas 10 gadi Eiropas Savienībā: sabiedrības noskaņojums un lēmumu pieņemšanapdf)

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