Latvia Country Report
Latvia is likely to maintain an overall favourable-to-businesses tax environment and increase regulatory predictability. The government will likely continue to reduce the administrative burden, as administration is often inefficient, with long processing times and demands for bribes. Exerting influence by the legislature and executive could be observed in the judiciary. Despite anti-graft measures, implementation remains patchy, but is likely to improve. More corruption investigations are probable. Full privatisations in the energy, forestry and defence sectors are unlikely. The country's infrastructure is good in regional terms, but still underdeveloped by West European standards.
There are no known terrorist organisations in Latvia and the domestic terrorist threat is low. Nevertheless, Latvia's membership to the Schengen zone makes terrorists' movements in and out of the country easier, with potential targets including NATO military assets and exercises, foreign embassies, and busy tourist or shopping hubs. Cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure and governmental bodies, perpetrated by Russian or pro-Russian individuals or groups are likely, especially around NATO and Russian military exercises in the Baltic region and around events such as Latvia's Independence day in November.
Crime levels in Latvia have decreased during the past 10 years and crime is not as substantial a problem as it was in the past. Organised criminal groups are primarily involved in money laundering, human and drug trafficking, car thefts, smuggling, and cyber-crime. Organised crime is affected by two groups of factors: external – geographic location, mainly transit routes through Latvia from Asia to Western Europe – and internal – shadow economy and social stratification. Money laundering has been a severe problem for Latvia, although the authorities are increasingly focused on improving the regulatory framework in line with the wider trend across the EU. Latvia is a source and transit country for human trafficking, with the primary routes leading to Western Europe.
Latvia's concerns about Russian expansionism have led to increased defence spending. After reaching the target of 2% of GDP, the expansionary trend is likely to slow, maintaining a stable level around 2%. In 2018 and 2019, Latvia allocated 2% of GDP for defence; up from 1.7% of GDP in 2017. Although Russia is unlikely to undertake a direct military offensive, it will probably continue to seek to destabilise Latvian authorities by hybrid warfare tactics (cyber attacks, propaganda, and economic coercion). Airspace and maritime border incursions by Russia are likely to persist. NATO has a de-facto permanent presence in the three Baltic countries.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The climate is continental in the interior of the country and slightly tempered in coastal regions thanks to the influence of the Baltic Sea. Summers are relatively hot while winters are cold. Conditions are often muddy in the spring due to melting snows.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz