Latvia

   

Social Policies

#33
Key Findings
With a mixed safety-net record, Latvia scores relatively poorly overall (rank 33) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure is unchanged relative to 2014.

Education reform has been a key government focus. However, progress in consolidating the excess number of higher-education institutions has been slow. Teachers’ salaries have been increased, but remain low. Income disparities and the poverty rate are quite high. The small guaranteed minimum income has been increased, but may be gradually phased out.

Healthcare spending levels are low by OECD standards. Less than 60% of costs are covered by public schemes. As households pay for more than 40% of direct costs, people often delay or avoid seeking care. Parental-leave benefits are generous, and the employment rate among women is above the EU average.

Pension benefits are low, with retiree poverty a serious problem. Integration policies for migrants and refugees are undeveloped. Automatic citizenship has been granted to children of the long-term residents who were not naturalized after independence from the Soviet Union. Crime rates are low.

Education

#26

To what extent does education policy deliver high-quality, equitable and efficient education and training?

10
 9

Education policy fully achieves the criteria.
 8
 7
 6


Education policy largely achieves the criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Education policy partially achieves the criteria.
 2
 1

Education policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Education Policy
5
Latvia has a relatively well-educated population and performs reasonably well in international comparisons, such as PISA. The 2015 – 2019 PISA results show that performance in the most significant indicators is now at the OECD average or below.

While successful in making upper secondary education nearly universal (88% of adults have attained an upper secondary level of education) and exceeding the EU 2020 education target of 40% of 30 to 34 year olds holding a university-level qualification, Latvia lags behind other OECD countries in vocational education. In addition, the IMF has warned that the current system is unsustainable due to a disproportionately high number of institutions, limited financing and falling student numbers. In 2017, the Bank of Latvia recommended a drastic reduction in the number of higher-education institutions, from 56 to 20, as well as a reduction in the number of study programs, from over 900 to less than 500. There is some limited evidence that the process of downsizing the large body of higher-education institutions has begun. For example, the Riga Pedagogical Academy was recently merged with the University of Latvia. In addition, steps were taken to close a number of rural schools.

Tertiary attainment among 25 to 34 year olds has improved in Latvia, from 29% in 2018 to 42% in 2018. Nevertheless, a wide gender gap exists, with 54% of women and only 30% of men holding a tertiary-level qualification. Furthermore, for 25 to 64 year olds, 34% of the population had attained tertiary education in 2018, 3% lower than the OECD average.

Latvia has undertaken comprehensive reforms in both general and vocational education, switching to a competence-based educational approach. The reforms will be introduced gradually between 2019 and 2023. Furthermore, in 2018, amendments to the Education Law and the Law of General Education were also approved, which will gradually change the language of instruction for ethnic minority upper-secondary education programs to Latvian only in 2021/2022. For grades 1 – 9, a bilingual education model will be introduced.

In general, education reform has been high on the government’s agenda. Nevertheless, there are still challenges to address in the education system – a shrinking population, a high rate of early retirement among teachers and a level of public funding that is significantly lower than the OECD average. Furthermore, around 45% of primary to upper secondary school teachers are at least 50 years old in Latvia. Combined with low salaries, the aging teacher population will constitute a significant future challenge. Some steps were taken in 2018 and 2019 to increase the minimum wage for teachers (from €680 to €750 per month), but longer-term plans remain unclear.

Citations:
1. Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (2019), Statistics in Brief: Latvia, Available at:https://www.csb.gov.lv/sites/default/files/publication/2019-05/Nr_03_Latvia_Statistics_in%20Brief%202019_%2819_00%29_EN.pdf, Last assesssed: 11.11.2019

2. OECD (2019), Education at a Glance: Latvia, Available at: http://gpseducation.oecd.org/Content/EAGCountryNotes/LVA.pdf, Last assessed: 11.11.2019.

3. OECD (2019) Education Policy Outlook 2019: Working Together to Help Students Achieve their Potential (Latvia), Available at: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/2386fc83-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/2386fc83-en, Last assessed: 11.11.2019.

4. Freedom House (2018), Nations in Transit 2018, Country Profile – Latvia, Available at: https://freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/2018/latvia, Last assessed: 11.11.2019.

5. Ministry of Education and Science (2018). Information on Transition to Studying in the State Language, Available at: http://www.izm.gov.lv/en/highlights/2762-information-regarding-the-transition-to-instruction-in-the-state-language-in-general-education-institutions-offering-education-programmes-for-minorities, Last assessed: 11.11.2019.

Social Inclusion

#29

To what extent does social policy prevent exclusion and decoupling from society?

10
 9

Policies very effectively enable societal inclusion and ensure equal opportunities.
 8
 7
 6


For the most part, policies enable societal inclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 5
 4
 3


For the most part, policies fail to prevent societal exclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 2
 1

Policies exacerbate unequal opportunities and exclusion from society.
Social Inclusion Policy
5
While economic growth and stabilization is evidenced by some economic and social indicators (such as poverty rates), the depth of the 2008 – 2010 economic crisis and persistence of high unemployment rates had a lasting impact on citizens’ welfare and quality of life, and contributed to higher emigration levels until recently. Emigration potential continues to be high, with only a small percentage of emigrants planning to return.

Latvia has one of the highest levels of income disparity among EU member states, with a Gini index of 35.6 in 2019, still one of the largest in the European Union. The situation has been exacerbated by policy decisions that favored rapid economic recovery at the cost of social-security provision for at-risk population groups.

Nevertheless, Latvia’s economic-recovery package included policies to address poverty and unemployment. For example, the social safety net includes a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) program which is a well-targeted scheme addressing the needs of unemployed people and at-risk population groups. Since its introduction, the minimum GMI benefit has been increased and the responsibility for financing the program has been transferred from central to local government. This has undermined the program’s financial sustainability and, as the economy has recovered, a gradual phase-out is being considered. However, the GMI benefit remains in place, although small in terms of coverage and financing. The benefit was €49.80 per month from 2013 until 2018 when it was increased to €53 per month (an increase to €64 forthcoming in 2020).

The high emigration rates serve as a major indicator of marginalization and the lack of opportunity. A total of 275,131 people left Latvia between 2006 and 2016. Moreover, recent research shows that the emigrants are on average better educated than those who have stayed. The high rate of emigration, coupled with a high mortality rate and low birth rate, has led to a 12% decline in population over the past 10 years, the second-largest decline in the European Union.

The government has taken additional steps to decrease inequality. For example, in 2017, a new progressive tax rate was adopted (effective in 2018), along with other measures aimed at reducing the tax burden on low-wage earners. Similarly, the government has approved a plan to increase the minimum retirement pension amount in 2020.

Nevertheless, even though living standards have improved overall, and expenditure on pensions and benefits continue to grow gradually, poverty and income equality remain high. Latvia’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the European Union and OECD. In addition, regional disparities in income per capita are notable. While unemployment has been declining, it disproportionately affects the low-skilled and young. Social protection spending is below the European average, and areas such as housing and social exclusion are underfunded.

Citations:
1. The World Bank (2019) Scientific research: Latvia: “Who is Unemployed, Inactive or Needy? Assessing Post-Crisis Policy Options”: Latvia GMI Program: Main Design Characteristics and Comparison with Minimum Income Schemes in Other EU Member States, Available at: http://www.lm.gov.lv/upload/aktualitates/lv_gmi_note_270513.pdf, Last assessed 07.11.2019

2. Hazans, M. (2019). Emigration from Latvia: A Brief History and Driving Forces in the Twenty-First Century. In The Emigrant Communities of Latvia (pp. 35-68). Springer, Cham, Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-12092-4_3, Last assessed : 07.11.2019

3. Cabinet of Ministers (2019) Plan for the Improvement of the Minimum Income Support Framework for 2020-2021, Available (in Latvian): https://likumi.lv/ta/id/308914-par-planu-minimalo-ienakumu-atbalsta-sistemas-pilnveidosanai-2020-2021-gadam, Last assessed 07.11.2019.

4. IMF (2018) Republic of Latvia: Selected Issues, Available at: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2018/09/05/Republic-of-Latvia-Selected-Issues-46207, Last assessed: 07.11.2019.

5. Central Statistical Bureau, Database, Available at: http://data.csb.gov.lv
Ministry of Economy (2013), Re-emigration Plan, Report and Supporting Documents, Available at: http://www.em.gov.lv/em/2nd/?cat=30791, Last assessed: 20.05.2013 (Link discontinued)

Updated report (in Latvian) on the Re-emigration Plan available at: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/tautiesiem-arzemes/atgriesanas-latvija, Last assessed: 07.11.2019.

6. Inta Mierina (2015), Latvijas Emigrantu Kopienas: Ceribu Diaspora. LU: Riga. Available at: https://www.lu.lv/fileadmin/user_upload/lu_portal/zinas/2016/FSI_Ceribu_diaspora_pub.pdf, Last assessed: 29.12.2018.

Health

#41

To what extent do health care policies provide high-quality, inclusive and cost-efficient health care?

10
 9

Health care policy achieves the criteria fully.
 8
 7
 6


Health care policy achieves the criteria largely.
 5
 4
 3


Health care policy achieves the criteria partly.
 2
 1

Health care policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Health Policy
4
In 2016, an OECD review stated that the healthcare system in Latvia broadly delivers effective and efficient care considering its severe underfunding and a higher level of demand compared to most OECD countries. Universal population coverage, highly qualified medical staff, the innovative use of physician’s assistants have been noted as positive aspects of the current healthcare system in Latvia. However, waiting times remain long for key diagnostic and treatment services, and mortality rates for men, women and children are higher than in most EU member states. Latvia also lags behind in the development of evidence-based reform proposals.

Spending on healthcare is low in Latvia compared to other OECD countries and less than 60% of healthcare costs are covered by publicly mandated schemes. Overall health expenditure amounts to less than 6% of GDP, compared to an average of 8.8% in the OECD. Similarly, public coverage for pharmaceutical costs is lower in Latvia (less than 40% of total pharmaceutical costs) than in other OECD countries (57%), which means almost two-thirds of pharmaceutical spending is covered by out-of-pocket payments. Because direct payments by households toward healthcare costs make over 40% in Latvia, people often either delay or do not access healthcare at all.

In 2018, the government increased spending on healthcare by 22%, financing it in part through a social contribution. It was planned that from 2019, micro-enterprise and self-employed workers, and recipients of a foreign pension would contribute via a levy equivalent to 5% of the minimum wage, otherwise individuals would have access to only basic healthcare services.

This plan is likely to lead to higher costs in the future, as people denied access – and consequently go without care for prolonged periods of time – may experience more serious and costly problems in the future. Furthermore, considerable administrative costs are likely to occur as well, as was illustrated by the delay in introducing the reform as doctors were unable to locate patients’ insurance details using the current IT systems. The reform has been postponed until 2021 to address these and other shortcomings.

In addition, as far as the hospital system is concerned, much remains to be desired with regard to the quality and efficiency of the services. For example, Latvia’s 30-day mortality rate after admission to hospital for a heart attack is the highest in the European Union and twice the EU average.

Future challenges will include stabilizing the system, addressing the discussed drawbacks and reducing shortages of skilled medical staff. In addition, increasing the low rate of pay for medical professionals remains a challenge, despite a Saeima decision in 2018 to raise renumeration by 20%. Finally, centralizing services and developing cooperation between hospitals, as well as reviewing performance, governance and accountability mechanisms in hospitals would further improve the healthcare system in Latvia.

Citations:
1. OECD (2019) Health at a Glance: OECD Indicators, Available at: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/health-at-a-glance-2019_4dd50c09-en, Last assessed: 30.10.2019

2. OECD (2019) OECD Economic Surveys: Latvia, Available at: https://www.oecd.org/economy/surveys/Latvia-2019-OECD-economic-survey-overview.pdf, Last assessed: 30.10.2019

3. IMF (2018) Republic of Latvia: Selected Issues, Available at: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2018/09/05/Republic-of-Latvia-Selected-Issues-46207, Last assessed: 30.10.2019.

4. European Commission (2018) ESPN Flash report: Changing the funding of the Latvian compulsory healthcare system: for better or for worse?, Available at: ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=18722&langId=en; Last assessed: 30.10.2019.

5. European Comission, State of Health in the EU: Latvia. Country Health profile 2017. Available at: https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/latvia-country-health-profile-2017_9789264283466-en#page1, Last assessed: 30.10.2019.

5. OECD (2016). OECD Reviews of Health Systems.Latvia 2016. OECD Publishing, Paris. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264262782-en, Last assessed: 30.10.2019.

Families

#18

To what extent do family support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market?

10
 9

Family support policies effectively enable women to combine parenting with employment.
 8
 7
 6


Family support policies provide some support for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 5
 4
 3


Family support policies provide only few opportunities for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 2
 1

Family support policies force most women to opt for either parenting or employment.
Family Policy
7
Family-support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market. In 2018, 72.7% of mothers with at least one child aged six and under were employed, which is above the EU average (63.1%). In addition, labor law prohibits an employer from terminating an employment contract with a pregnant woman or a mother with a baby under one year old.

A maximum of 112 calendar days of paid maternity leave can be taken, with mothers receiving 80% of their average wage. Paternity benefits are paid for a maximum 10 days at 80% of fathers’ average wage, with paternity leave taken within two months of the child’s birth.

Furthermore, parental leave of up to 18 months per child can be used by either parent prior to the child’s eighth birthday. Parents with three or more children are entitled to three extra days of paid leave per year, as well as other social benefits such as reduced fares on public transport. As of 2017, 10 days of parental leave are available to parents of adopted children.

Finally, access to kindergartens remains a problem, with families often waiting years for a place. Local government support for private sector involvement in childcare should address the shortage of available kindergarten places.

Citations:
1. European Commission (2019), Employment Rates by Sex, Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/lfs/data/database, Last assessed: 03.11.2019

2. The State Social Insurance Agency (2018) Maternity Benefit, Available at: https://www.vsaa.gov.lv/en/services/for-parents/maternity-benefit/, Last assessed; 03.11.2019

Pensions

#40

To what extent does pension policy realize goals of poverty prevention, intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability?

10
 9

Pension policy achieves the objectives fully.
 8
 7
 6


Pension policy achieves the objectives largely.
 5
 4
 3


Pension policy achieves the objectives partly.
 2
 1

Pension policy does not achieve the objectives at all.
Pension Policy
4
The state pension system guarantees a monthly minimum pension. The amount of the monthly pension is dependent on the recipient’s years of service, but is at least equal to or larger than the state social-security benefit of €70, though less than half the 2018 monthly minimum wage of €430. However, where the amount of an individual’s monthly pension is below the minimum wage, the recipient qualifies for public assistance. The average monthly pension in 2019 was €335.84. According to the Central Statistics Bureau, the at-risk-of-poverty rate among retired persons continues to grow rapidly, reaching 44.2% in 2016 compared to 38.1% in 2015 and 27.6% in 2013. In 2017, 50.4% of the citizens aged 65 and over were at risk of poverty.

Two types of mandatory pension schemes exist in Latvia: a non-financial (notional) contribution (pay-as-you-go) and a funded contribution. There are also voluntary private pension funds that are complementary to the mandatory schemes. Jointly, these constitute a three-pillar pension system, which has increased the system’s fiscal sustainability and intergenerational equity.

The European Commission Fiscal Sustainability Report 2012 concluded that the notional defined contribution system had low sustainability risks, given its expected reliance on funds raised through the second pillar.

The second pillar mandatory funded pension scheme has come under criticism for excessive fees. An independent private start-up fund has emerged, offering substantially lower commissions and favorable terms. Legislators have taken interest and draft legislation is under consideration as of 2018 to limit bank commissions and fees levied for managing the mandatory funded pension scheme.

In a 2018 report, OECD criticized Latvia’s three-pillar system and specifically the NDC schemes, because they automatically adjust to changes in the size of the labor force and life expectancy. Consequently, if these are not matched with an adjustment in retirement age, the future replacement rates will remain below the OECD average. The report also noted that Latvia’s shrinking labor force lowers the internal returns of pay-as-you-go pensions and that the default option in the mandatory scheme is only appropriate for very risk-averse individuals, not the entire population.

However, the tax reform of 2017/2018 signals a willingness to address some of the problems in the system. The tax reform introduces progressive taxation of personal income, including pensions. In addition, the nontaxable minimum is higher for pensioners (€235 per month in 2017 up to €300 per month in 2020) than for the working-age population (€75 per month in 2017 up to €250 per month in 2020). In 2018 and 2019, the indexing of pensions also became more favorable for those with longer social contribution records.

Nevertheless, even with the amendments, the pension indexing system remains complex and many of the issues identified by the European Union and OECD remain – further reforms are urgently needed, especially with regard to poverty reduction.

Citations:
1. Central Statistical Bureau (2019) Number of pensioners and the Average Amount of Old-age Pension (Database), Available at (in Latvian):
https://www.csb.gov.lv/lv/statistika/statistikas-temas/socialie-procesi/sociala-drosiba/tabulas/sd010c/pensionaru-skaits-un-vecuma-pensijas, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

2. Central Statistical Bureau (2017) At-risk-of-poverty rate by occupational status, sex and age (%) (Database) Available at (in Latvian): https://data1.csb.gov.lv/pxweb/lv/sociala/sociala__nabadz_nevienl__monetara_nab/NIG040.px/, Available at: 02.11.2019

3. Ministry of Welfare (2017). Review of state funded pension system (in Latvian). Available at: https://www.vsaa.gov.lv/pakalpojumi/stradajosajiem/2-pensiju-limenis/parskati-pa r-valsts-fondeto-pensiju-shemas-darbibu/. Last assessed 02.11.2019

4. OECD (2018) Review of the Pension System in Latvia, Available at: https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/oecd-reviews-of-pe nsion-systems-latvia_9789264289390-en#page13, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

5. The State Social Insurance Agency (2018) Pensions in 2018 (in Latvian), Available at: https://www.vsaa.gov.lv/jaunakas-zinas/pensijas-2018-gada/ Last assessed: 02.11.2019

Integration

#16

How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

10
 9

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
 8
 7
 6


Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
 2
 1

Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
Integration Policy
5
On 11 October 2011, Latvia adopted the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012 – 2018), which set policy goals for achieving a more inclusive and cohesive society. The guidelines include new policy proposals, increased governmental support, and improved institutional arrangements. However, in 2015, Latvia ranked second-to-last among 38 European and North American countries in the Migrant Integration Policy Index. The index noted that Latvia still has the weakest policies among EU member states. The same year, Latvia convened a working group charged with creating a coherent policy for accepting and integrating a larger number of refugees as part of a burden-sharing process reflecting the broader European refugee crisis. A new strategy is expected to be adopted in 2021, although in the meantime a plan extending the activities of these guidelines for 2019 – 2020 was adopted in 2018.

Latvia faces challenges in integrating two particular categories of immigrants: migrant workers and non-citizens. Non-citizens are long-term residents of Latvia who were not eligible for citizenship when Latvia gained independence from the Soviet Union and have not been naturalized since independence. In 2019, non-citizens comprised 10.7% of the total population. There have been positive improvements, however. For example, in 2019, Saeima passed a law to grant automatic citizenship to children of non-citizens, thus ending the issue of stateless children in the country.

The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs indicates that there are 89,023 migrant workers (i.e., individuals holding either a temporary or permanent residence permit) in Latvia, comprising 4.5% of the total population. Since July 2010, Latvia has granted temporary residence permits to investors meeting monetary investment targets (17,878 temporary residence permits were issued between 2010 and 2018). In September 2014, parliament doubled the minimum investment required to attain a temporary residence permit resulting in a significant drop in demand for these types of permits.

Rights for immigrants depend on the type of residency permit. Individuals holding a temporary residence permit are particularly vulnerable, as they do not qualify for public healthcare, legal aid or unemployment support. An individual holding a permanent residency permit or who has acquired long-term resident status within the European Union has the same rights as Latvian non-citizens. As of March 2010, all children, including children of migrant workers holding temporary residence permits, have access to free education. No restrictions are placed on the right to work for high-skilled migrant workers, foreign students or immigrants who have moved for family reasons. However, access to the local labor market is restricted for migrant workers who have obtained only a temporary residence permit. These individuals’ work rights are tied to the employer who invited them to Latvia. Temporary migrant workers do not have the ability to freely change employers or their position within the company.

Access to the labor market also depends on language proficiency, as a certain level of language skill is required by law for many professions. This is true of state and local government institutions as well as commercial companies in which the majority of capital shares are publicly owned. Moreover, in late 2017, politicians from the National Alliance party called for legislation to strengthen the importance of the Latvian language in the private (primarily service) sector.

In May 2013, Latvia adopted changes to its citizenship law that legalized dual citizenship with 38 countries. This will enable some permanent residents to retain their current citizenship if they choose to apply for Latvian citizenship.

Legislative obstacles restrict the ability of immigrants to participate in society. Migrants do not have voting rights in local elections and cannot be members of political associations. Third-country nationals with temporary residence permits cannot organize protests or marches.

In 2017, 395 persons applied for asylum in Latvia. Only 39 were granted refugee status and 259 received an alternative status. In 2018, the number dropped to 176 applicants, with only 23 people receiving refugee status and 24 an alternative status. Most people applying for protection were from Russia, Iraq or Azerbaijan.

Citations:
1. Ministry of the Interior (2018) Report on the Progress and Results of the Implementation of the Provisions Provided by Section 23, Paragraph one, Clauses 3, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of the Immigration Law, Available at (in Latvian): http://tap.mk.gov.lv/doc/2019_01/IEMZino_191218.2722.docx, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

2. Central Statistical Bureau (2019) Demography, Available at:https://www.csb.gov.lv/lv/statistika/statistikas-temas/iedzivotaji/iedzivotaju-skaits/meklet-tema/387-demografija-2019, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

3. Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (2087). Annual Report. Available at (in Latvian): https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/sakums/jaunumi/publikacijas/gada-parskati/pmlp-2018.-gada-pārskats-(pdf)-3.84-mb.pdf, Last assessed 02.11.2019

4. Policy Report: Migration and Asylum in Latvia 2015 (in Latvian). Kitija Kursa. European Migration Network. http://www.emn.lv/wp-content/uploads/LATVIA_FINAL_version_emn_integration_of_ben eficiaries_for_international_protection_LV.pdf Last assessed 02.11.2019

5. Policy Brief: Immigration in Latvia. Dace Akule and Indra Mangule, Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS (2014), Available at: http://providus.lv/article_files/2633/original/Kopsavilkums_Imigracija_Latvija_E N.pdf?1404807320. Last assessed 02.11.2019

6. Migration Policy Group (2015), Migrant Integration Policy Index, Available at: http://www.mipex.eu/latvia, Last assessed: 02.11.2019.

7. Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012 – 2018), Available at (in Latvian): http://www.likumi.lv/doc.php?id=238195, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

8. The Saeima (2018), The Role of Immigration in Labour Security in Latvia (in Latvian), Available at: http://www.saeima.lv/petijumi/Imigracijas_loma_darbaspeka_nodrosinajums_Latvija- 2018_aprilis.pdf, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

Safe Living

#28

How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

10
 9

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
 8
 7
 6


Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
 2
 1

Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Internal Security Policy
9
The Ministry of Interior, State Police, Security Police, State Fire and Rescue Service, State Border Guard, and Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs are responsible for domestic security policy. They collaborate on some policy issues, notably on immigration policy.

In 2016, 45,639 crimes were registered, which was a 3.7% decrease from 2015. In 2017, the number fell further, reaching 44,250 or 229.1 crimes per 10,000 people. In 2017, 61% of the recorded crimes were classified as relatively mild and approximately one-third were categorized as serious. In 2018, the serious crime rate decreased slightly to 26.6%.

Despite international developments, the threat of terrorism remains low. There have been no criminal offenses associated with terrorism. In late 2015, the security police started a criminal investigation into alleged participation in the military conflict in Syria, which was followed by one conviction. In 2016, two criminal investigations for terrorism threats were launched, another for inciting terrorism and four for participation in foreign armed conflicts. Similarly, in 2019, criminal proceedings were initiated against one person for unlawful participation in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, while three people were detained on the grounds of illegal arms trade and laundering.

Opinion polls from 2018 indicate that public trust in the police continues to rise and more people feel safe (71% of respondents reported feeling safe or rather safe and 62% indicated they had trust in the police).

Citations:
1. Research center SKDS (2018), Attitude Toward the State Police, Available at (in Latvian): http://petijumi.mk.gov.lv/sites/default/files/title_file/Valsts_policija_Petijum s_2018_Attieskme_pret_Valsts_policiju_0.pdf, Last assessed: 02.11.2019.

2. Central Statistical Bureau (2019), Number of registered criminal offenses: Database, Available at: http://data1.csb.gov.lv/pxweb/lv/sociala/sociala__likump/SKG010.px/, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

3. Latvian State Security Service (2018) Counterterrorism, Available at: https://www.dp.gov.lv/en/areas-of-activity/counterterrorism/#Threat%20level, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

4. Latvian State Security Service (2019), VDD detains three persons for violation of sanctions determined by international organisations, Available at: https://vdd.gov.lv/en/useful/publications/vdd-detains-three-persons-for-violation-of-sanctions-determined-by-international-organisations.art161, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

5. Latvian State Security Service (2019), VDD calls for criminal prosecution for unlawful participation in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Available at: https://vdd.gov.lv/en/useful/publications/vdd-calls-for-criminal-prosecution-for-unlawful-participation-in-the-armed-conflict-in-eastern-ukraine.art157, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

6. Latvian State Police (2018) Infographic on Crime in Latvia (2017), Available at: https://lvportals.lv/skaidrojumi/293502-noziegumi-latvija-2017-gada-2018, Last assessed: 02.11.2019.

Global Inequalities

#38

To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries?

10
 9

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
 8
 7
 6


The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 5
 4
 3


The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries.
Global Social Policy
3
As a result of government austerity programs, funding for bilateral development cooperation was reduced to a minimum between 2009 and 2011. This reduction has meant that Latvia’s ability to directly contribute to efforts to tackle global social inequalities has been negligible. In 2016, Latvia’s official development assistance (ODA) expenditure was €19 million or 0.08% of GNI, down from €21 million or 0.21% GNI in 2015. Latvia has adopted a multi-year ODA strategy, which foresees increasing contributions to 0.33% of GNI by 2020.

Bilateral development cooperation focuses on the three top-priority countries of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia supported 21 projects with €448,343 invested in the sustainable development of partner countries, civil society capacity-building and development of education systems.

Citations:
1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2019), Latvia’s Bilateral Development Cooperation in 2018, Available at: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/news/latest-news/62951-latvia-s-bilateral-development-cooperation-in-2018, Last assessed 02.11.2019.

2. State Development Cooperation Policy Plan (2016 – 2020), Available at (in Latvian): http://www.likumi.lv/ta/id/284775-par-attistibas-sadarbības-politikas-pamatnostadnem-2016-2020-gadam. Last assessed: 02.11.2019.
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