Affairs

Politics

The no-frills PM— Latvia

Preface

The Latvian PM is charged with the salvation of his country’s economy, which is in an even worse condition than most others in Europe. He speaks to Monocle about his plans to turn things around.

Economy, Prime Minister

Latvia may not be a big nation with its population of just 2.2 million, but lately it has been battling some very big problems. In 2009 the world economy caught a chill; in Latvia, however, it was more like a bad attack of pneumonia – GDP fell by a staggering 18 per cent and by January 2010 the unemployment rate was 20.4 per cent. Although the economy is set to return to growth this year, much of the damage was caused by the large pop emanating from the bursting property bubble.

Latvians have punished their old-guard politicians for the slaying of…

-1971 Born in Riga

-1995 Bachelor’s degree in economics from Riga Technical University

-1995 Assistant in physics for one year at Mainz University, Germany

-1996 Master's degree in physics from the University of Latvia

-1998 Macroeconomics analyst at Bank of Latvia

-2001 Appointed chief economist at Bank of Latvia

-2002 Elected MP of the Saeima (the Latvian parliament)

-2002 Appointed minister for finance until 2004

-2004 Member of the European Parliament until 2009

-2009 Prime minister

Monocle 24

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