On September 26, 2011 in Washington, DC as part of its "Strengthening the Transatlantic Economy" series, the German Marshall Fund hosted Andris Vilks, finance minister of Latvia and Ilmars Rimsevics, the governor of the Bank of Latvia (Latvia's central bank) for a breakfast discussion titled “Europe’s economic woes: The view from Riga.”
Together with its Baltic neighbors, the Republic of Latvia was one of the hardest hit European countries during the economic crisis of 2007-2008. In the following two years, the country’s gross domestic product dropped nearly 25 percent from its peak, and early in 2010 Latvia’s unemployment rate reached 20.5 percent. Latvia has since implemented a number of economic policies and reforms that have managed to pull the country back from the economic brink. Latvia’s economy started to grow again in the second half of 2010 and while the unemployment rate still remains above 16 percent today, the country’s economic trend seems positive.
In light of these developments, the two speakers discussed what the current turmoil in the EU means for Latvia’s economic recovery and its perspective on joining the Eurozone.
To listen to an interview by GMF’s Senior Transatlantic Fellow for Economics, Bruce Stokes, with Finance Minister Vilks, please click here.
(above photo courtesy of the German Marshall Fund: Bruce Stokes, GMF; Ilmars Rimsevics, Governor of the Bank of Latvia; Andris Vilks, Latvia's Minister of Finance)