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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 22.09.2021, 02:13

Latvian diaspora provides EUR 500 million to national economy a year

BC, Riga, 24.08.2016.Print version
The Latvians who live and work in foreign countries provide around EUR 500 million a year to the Latvian economy, Peteris Elferts, the Foreign Ministry's Ambassador-at-Large for diaspora, said on public radio Wednesday, cites LETA.

This is a two-way process, as Latvia also provides financing to the diaspora. The amount of money returning to Latvia, however, is bigger than the investments made in the diaspora.

Over the past two years that Elferts has spent in his ambassadorial post, diaspora organizations have been founded in places where they have never existed before. The ministry has also helped organize school camps for Latvian children. There are currently more than 100 Latvian schools across the world, and this year new ones have been founded also in Greece and Turkey. Ambassador Elferts said that a distance learning tool would be extremely helpful because in many countries Latvians life far from the weekend schools.


Elferts underlined that importance of the sense of belonging to Latvia. "You are connected to something much bigger, not just the Latvian state and territory. Often, people realize this only when they live in foreign countries," Elferts said.


The ambassador also said that it is necessary to establish more youth organizations in Europe. This is especially important to make young Latvians, whose identity is only forming, feel their bond to Latvia.


Reporting on his work of the past two years, Elferts also named the organizing of the World Latvian Economics and Innovations Forum, creation of the Center for Disapora and Migration Research at the University of Latvia, as well as support to the diaspora's media.


Asked about I Want You Back campaign, launched by the Latvian Institute, Elferts said the campaign could be better organized so that the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments and state institutions were also informed about the initiative. Elferts praised the campaign's key message, noting, however, that there are nongovernmental organizations in Latvia that could help emigrants return to their motherland.


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