The Government and Politics of the European Union

Seventh edition

by Neill Nugent


Population 2.3 m
Capital Riga
Surface area 62,300 km2
Official Language Latvian
Gross domestic product (GDP) (in euros) 25.37 bn
GDP as a % of EU-27, based on 2009 data 0.2
GDP per capita by purchasing power standards (indexed to EU average of 100) 55.8
Currency Lats (LVL)
Human development index (HDI), an index based on life expectancy, education and GDP (max. 1) 0.855
World rank in HDI 45/177
Key economic sectors (% of GDP in 2002) Services (70.6); industry (24.7); agriculture (4.7)
Unemployment in January 2010 22.9% (source:
Main religious denominations Roman Catholic (0.5); Lutheran (0.4)
Political system Legislative power is held by a unicameral parliament elected every four years. Executive power is held by a Council of Ministers drawn from the parliament.
Electoral system The one-hundred deputies of the parliament are elected by proportional representation with a five percent threshold.
Current (March 2010) leaders Prime minister: Valdis Dombrovskis (b. 1971), since June 2009
Previous leaders: Prime ministers: Ivars Godmanis (2007-09); Aigars Kalvitis (2004-09); Indulis Emsis (2004)
Joined the EU/EC 2004
Commissioner from country in Barroso II College of Commissioners, and portfolio Andris Piebalgs (Development)
Number of MEPs 9/754
Turnout in 2009 EP elections (%) 53.1
Member of eurozone No

Except where a specific reference is inserted, the sources for this profile are either Neill Nugent’s book itself, or Barry Turner (ed.), The Statesman’s Yearbook Online, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. If your library subscribes, you can gain access at