The Latvian Parliament and EU Affairs: A Passive Player with Strong Formal Powers
Latvia became a member state of the European Union (EU) as part of the big-bang expansion of 2004. EU membership had been an overarching goal of all Latvian governments since 1995, when the Latvian Parliament (the Saeima) adopted the country’s Foreign Policy Strategy built around two major goals — accession to the EU and membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Both goals were widely regarded domestically as preconditions for the sustainability of Latvia’s sovereignty in the light of the country’s uneasy relationship with Russia since 1991, when it regained its independence from the Soviet Union. The Soviet annexation had, among other things, substantially changed the ethnic structure of Latvia’s population as a consequence of mass repression of civilians and the forced industrialization policy, which led to an increase in the share of Eastern Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian) minorities from 10.3 per cent in 1935 to 43 per cent in 1989 (Demogrāfija, 2006).
KeywordsEuropean Union National Parliament North Atlantic Treaty Organization European Union Level Lisbon Treaty
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