Latvia’s Future in a Deepened EU: Fine with the Right Wine
Geopolitical considerations continue to define Latvia’s foreign policy priorities, including Latvia’s strategic positioning in relation to and within the EU. Economic and social convergence is also among the drivers behind Latvia’s persistence to stay in the core of the EU. Latvia’s public opinion shows high levels of support for the membership, and none of the notable political forces are positioning the country to exit the EU. Officially, Latvia stands for a strong union of independent states. In line with this, Latvia has been an ardent supporter of deepening the single market and the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). However, Latvia has shown little appetite to see integration in such areas as taxation and social protection standards. In Latvia’s view, deepening in these areas would infringe upon the country’s economic competitiveness, coherent economic development, and productivity-based wage increases. Should there be a motion towards greater unity in sensitive areas, Latvia’s acceptance would be conditional on either adequate compensatory mechanisms or a strong commitment from other EU member states to help each other when in serious trouble. Equal political and economic standing of the member states within the EU is of paramount importance to Latvia. Hence, a multi-speed Europe with objectively unsolvable differentiation tied to the economic, geographical, or cultural areas in the short term should be avoided at all costs.