European Voices: Latvia‎

Britain is not part of the conversation

We care about the future of the EU, but don’t talk much about Britain.

Alise
Alise AvotaAccount director in Creative Agency

Riga – [Brexit] It’s not a big theme in Latvia.. but people are interested in the future of the EU, mostly when it affects the situation here – agriculture, GMOs, or laws that affect us directly.  In the beginning, society was quite polarised [about EU membership], not everyone voted to join, but the attitude now is quite positive.

But we joined the euro in 2014, people criticised that  a lot, as most of the traders increased prices, significantly, but the salaries did not follow. We were very fond of our lats! [Latvian money]. The reasoning was that we’d join in order for us to be more financially stable. It was just one of many governmental decisions that we just accepted – Latvians are very passive, we rarely go out in the streets, we babble in our kitchens – ‘oh this is bad, that is bad’ but no-one does anything.

There are definitely big pros [to EU membership] for agriculture and exports, education programmes, student exchanges, for small businesses, and a lot of subsidies…. but if you ask about Russia and security? The EU is not a protection from Russia at all – we see NATO that way, but not the EU. People don’t really believe that if Russia invaded, anyone would come and risk their own safety for Latvia – we are too small.

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