Introduction

Latvia lies in northwest of the Eastern Europe lowland near the Baltic Sea. Latvia borders with Estonia in the North, Russian Federation in the East, Belarus in the South East and Lithuania in the South and has sea border with Sweden in the West.

The size of country's total area is 64 589 kmē. In summer the average temperature is 15.8°C and in winter time it is -4.5°C. At the beginning of 2007 Latvia had 2281,3 thousand inhabitants. In recent years depopulation of inhabitants is very characteristic for Latvia - the number of population has decreased for about 300 thousand or more than 10%. Density of population is 36 people per kmē. Capital city dominates the country - about half of its population or 1148 thousand inhabitants live in functional Riga city-region.

Latvia is market economy oriented country. After regaining independence Latvia experienced rapid structural changes - in 2000 primary sector gave not more than 5% from the produced value, secondary sector - 25% and tertiary sector or services dominates the economy with 70% from the produced value. In 2005 GDP was 11,1 thousand EUR and it increases on average more than 8% per year.

Relevant legislative acts and institutions

Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia www.csb.gov.lv

The Latvian Institute www.li.lv