Welcome to the Consulate General of The Republic of Latvia to Lebanon

The Consulate General of Latvia in Beirut represents the Republic of Latvia in Lebanon and covers the 5 Boroughs of Beirut, Zahle, North of Lebanon, the South of Lebanon, and the Mont Lebanon. Its broad mission is to promote Latvian interests in Lebanon and to provide assistance to Latvians visiting Lebanon and residents. The Consulate seeks to assist in fostering broader knowledge in Lebanon about Latvia and to facilitate increased business, educational, and cultural relations between Lebanon and Latvia - one of the European Union's fastest growing and historically and culturally interesting nations.

Things you should know about Riga

  • Riga is the largest city in the three Baltic States
  • There are three major ports in Latvia - Liepaja, Riga and Ventspils, as well as seven smaller ports - Skulte, Mersrags, Salacgriva, Pavilosta, Roja, Lielupe and Engure, which are situated along the entire coastline of Latvia.
  • Riga is Europe's capital of art nouveau architecture
  • Riga is one of the greenest city in the region
  • Historic center in Riga is included in the UNESCO world heritage list
  • Riga , ranked as the best large European city for cost effectiveness by FDI Magazine
 
Largest cities or towns of Latvia

Riga

Rank Name Pop.

Liepāja

1 Riga 705,703
2 Daugavpils 103,053
3 Liepāja 83,884
4 Jelgava 64,748
5 Jūrmala 56,147

Daugavpils

6 Ventspils 42,657

Jelgava

7 Rēzekne 34,912
8 Valmiera 27,217
9 Jēkabpils 26,378
10 Ogre 26,167

Latvian News 9-12-2016

  • Baltic parliamentarians receive U.S. support for regional security «The main message received from U.S. senators is that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have no reasons to worry about non-compliance with NATO obligations from their allies,» ? notes Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee?s chairman Ojars Eriks Kalnins. «This was a historic meeting in the Senate, which was attended by 8% of all senators. Such a large representation of senators in talks with Baltic parliamentarians proves ? we are strategic partners,» ? says the head of Saeima?s Foreign Affairs Committee. A joint Baltic parliamentarians delegation is currently on a visit in Washington, USA. It is the first visit of Baltic parliamentarians to Washington after the presidential elections in USA. The meeting with senators was hosted by Mitch McConnel, leader of the majority in the U.S. Senate, as BNN was informed by Saeima?s press-service. Kalnins said that Baltic parliamentarians received support from U.S. House of Representatives and praise for accomplishments on the road towards allocating 2% of GDP for defence in 2018. After discussing the decision made at the NATO summit in Warsaw in regards to constant presence of allied forces in Baltics and Poland, Latvia?s delegation informed their American colleagues about the active work that is being carried out in the country ? creation of a multi-national battalion combat group under Canada?s leadership. Kalnins described the visit to Washington as a successful one. In Washington, Baltic parliamentarians also met with representatives of the European Policy Analysis Centre and took part in a discussion with experts about transatlantic cooperation, security of the Baltic region and NATO matters in The Heritage Foundation think tank and round-table discussion organized by The Atlantic Council. Latvia?s delegation consists of Ojars Eriks Kalnins, deputy Artis Rasmanis and Martins Bondars. Saeima?s press-service reports that Chairperson of the parliament?s National Security Committee Solvita Aboltina and Chairman of Defence, Interior and Corruption Prevention Committee Ainars Latkovskis presented Congressman Robert Pittenger a letter of invitation and asked him to attend one of the meetings in the Latvian parliament. Chairpersons of both committees expressed confidence that modern security challenges increase the necessity for coordinated actions. This is why it is an honour and an opportunity for Latvia to speak up and actualize important security matters in Latvia and Baltic region as part of this parliamentary cooperation platform.
  • Politicians urge finance minister to step down because of deputy quotas Because of unwillingness to act, the state plans to cancel the introduction of mandatory social fees and increase micro-enterprise tax from 9% to 15%, states political party For Latvia?s Development. In addition, because of the irresponsible behaviour and lack of proper organization of important tasks, the party expresses distrust to Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, asking her to step down. On Wednesday, 7 December, the Coalition Council decided to postpone the introduction of state mandatory social fees. Instead, a radical, irresponsible and reckless decision was made to increase micro-enterprise tax rate from, 9% to 15%, the party states. Performing rapid and radical last-minute changes demonstrates the government?s irresponsible attitude towards the country?s tax policy and thousands of taxpayers. Juris Puce, head of For Latvia?s Development, comments: «The attitude towards thousands of taxpayers is clearly disdainful. The minister, who is paid stable and growing state salary, clearly does not understand that unjustified and baseless tax changes made at the last moment only serve to create an enormous degree of uncertainty among Latvian employers.» The party?s head notes that the finance minister is responsible for the failure in the budget?s creation, dividing deputy quotas worth more than EUR 20 million and playing ?chess? during the process of the budget?s formation. «It is yet another signal for Latvian residents that the government does not care. The finance minister should take political responsibility for the failure in her field of responsibility. Because of that, she should step down,» ? said Puce. As previously reported, independent deputy Artuss Kaimins has expressed his dissatisfaction and shock with the parliament?s approved budget. «I?ve never seen such a robbery as massive as the one that happened tonight,» ? Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimins on Thursday, 24 November, after the night the Saeima approved the next year?s budget. According to him, while Latvia?s people were sleeping, the parliament was busy reviewing the new budget, wasting EUR 27 million of taxpayer money in the process. «I don?t know a word more appropriate than robbery, because it was deputies? vote-buying before elections. I don?t think taxpayers should buy for publication of a book or street repairs, roof change for churches and the digitization of museum archives. All of its falls in line with deputies? quotas ? EUR 20,000 for each of them,» ? Kaimins told Rīta panorama, adding that ?EUR 10-11 million of the EUR 27 million would end up in Lembergs? municipality?. «I asked [Prime Minister Maris] Kucinskis why we?d have to approve the budget at night within 20 hours as though Latvia was in a state of war. I was told that it is a tradition left from the Supreme Council ? the communist era, it seems. As long as our country is ruled by former communists ? Brigmanis, Lembergs, Reirs, Piebalgs and Ameriks, nothing will change, and people will continue leaving the country,» ? Kaimins said. According to him, the 2017 budget is the coalition?s, not the taxpayers?, budget. In it, the coalition has divided money among themselves to serve their own interests. Kaimins urges residents to pay close attention to and engage in political processes, otherwise «the State Treasury will be brutally robbed in the night. [?] It is and aggressive budget built on the shoulders of the country?s taxpayers». Delna Society for Openness emphasizes that ?deputy quotas? primarily serve the purpose of promoting political parties, not public interests. Deputy quotas allow parties to use state resources to bribe voters into supporting them in the upcoming summer elections. Use of state resources to sponsor people close to political parties does not comply with good management principles and priorities listed in the state policy planning documents. This kind of practice should not be taken for granted. It should be condemned and combated, Delna notes. Especially generous amounts will be allocated to Ventspils, which is managed by the Union of Greens and Farmers. Ventspils will receive EUR 4 million in the 2017 state budget. The money will be allocated for the development of Ventspils Olympic Centre?s infrastructure, Ventspils international radio-astronomy centre?s development project and Ventspils Music School infrastructure development project. Multi-million infrastructure projects are not considered acute problems the municipality is unable to solve on its own. In addition, Ventspils Music School has already received EUR 15 million funding from the emission allowances auctioning tender, Delna emphasized.
  • Swedbank: transit industry?s losses will remain in the future All economies of the Baltic Sea region ? including Russia, where recession ended this year ? are growing. This growth, however, is modest. Brexit and outcome of elections in USA show that populism is gradually becoming a normal occurrence in the world, according to Swedbank?s latest Baltic Sea report. This does not mean there will be a victory march of populists in every country soon. It is clear, however, that political and economic processes will be more aimed towards securing internal markets, putting at risk trade and long-term growth. More expansive fiscal policy will contribute to growth, but not in a long-term perspective. Such a policy is simply not sustainable, because debt levels are already high in many countries. Competitiveness will be important as never before for all Baltic Sea region?s countries, comments Swedbank?s senior economist in Latvia Martins Kazaks. According to data from Swedbank?s Baltic Sea Report, the business environment?s quality remains on the level of 2015 ? 7.7. This year, improvements were noticed in Germany and Sweden, whose contribution is already above the average in the region. Lithuania has also shown improvement in its competitiveness. Among the region?s advantages are found in education, logistics and management. The biggest challenge lies in the major differences in business environments of the region?s countries, which slows down the region?s business development and economic growth. Russia is a big exception. Its accomplishments in many field is behind that of other countries. This includes areas like external trade, management and financial markets. BSI does not fully reflect (geo)political risks. Because of that, differences in the business environment with Russia are even bigger in practice. It is likely those differences will keep growing in the future, the economist explained. Latvia remains behind the region?s average level ? BSI has reduced from 6.9 to 6.8. It is higher than indexes of Poland and Russia, but below the region?s average and below indexes in Estonia and Lithuania. Latvia?s relative position has worsened in areas like education, labour market and financial market. Compared to its competitors, Latvia has demonstrated improvements in only three areas ? entrepreneurship, tax policy and infrastructure. Economic growth in Latvia has been unexpectedly low in 2016. The main reason for that is the same as it was before ? delayed EU funds, crisis in the construction sector and residents? cautious approach toward spending money. The lowest point has been passed, it seems. Investments are expected to grow next year following the inflow of EU funds and better corporate lending opportunities. It is not enough to ensure more rapid sustainable growth. BSI data shows the progress of reforms is insignificant. The labour force resource is gradually running out. Because of that, high and sustainable growth can be secured only by means of improvements of productivity and effectiveness, as well as wiser fiscal policy. Similar to previous years, the ball is on the policy makers? side of the field. Although private consumption has been the main engine for economic growth in Baltic States in the past several years, only growing exports of goods and services can provide high and sustainable growth in small and open economies like Baltic States. Exporters have successfully recovered from the Russian shock. Redirection of goods and services to other markets, mainly the EU, has helped at least partially compensate losses from the Russian market. Exporters are currently trying to conquer new markets. What?s more important, however, is their ability to stay in those markets. For example, dairy product exporters are trying to enter the Chinese market. Latvia has developed exports of lumber to China; exports of metals, mechanisms and devices to Turkey and exports of electrical appliances to UAE. In the next couple of years, global price growth and improvement of external demand will secure more rapid growth of exports. Exports of services continued to grow in 2015, when it was equal to 17% of GDP in Latvia, 26% in Estonia and 16% in Lithuania. In Estonia and Lithuania, exports of services have grown three times more rapidly than exports of goods in the past five years. In Latvia, on the other hand, exports of goods have grown the most. The most rapidly growing services are IT, telecommunications and other business services. They also have the highest potential. In 2015, export volumes of those services reached EUR 1.6 million in Latvia, EUR 2.3 million in Estonia and EUR 1.2 million in Lithuania. The transport sector currently faces the biggest challenges in terms of exports of services. Russia?s decision to divert the transit flow from Baltic ports to its own ports has negatively impacted transport service providers in Baltic States. For example, the volume of cargoes LDz has transported in the past ten months has declined 17%. Losses will remain in the industry in the next couple of years, as it is unlikely it will be possible to replace the lost cargoes with new ones. Nevertheless, the decline in exports of transport service will be possible to compensate in other industries (IT and telecommunications).