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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Latvia
Political relations between Switzerland and Latvia have traditionally been good. Latvia is a beneficiary of Switzerland’s contribution to the enlargement of the EU.
Switzerland and Latvia maintain good diplomatic relations. Switzerland provided Latvia with support during the 1990s period of transition.
Economic relations between the two countries are developing in a most satisfactory manner, with commercial exchanges amounting to CHF 242m in 2011.
As a member of the European Union Latvia is one of the beneficiaries of Switzerland's contribution to the reduction of economic and social inequalities in the enlarge EU. Between 2012 and 2017 a total of 12 projects are to be implemented with a total value of CHF 60m.
Scholars and artists from Latvia can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Through the “Swiss Baltic Net”, the Gebert Rüf Foundation promoted university education as well as scientific exchanges between Switzerland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
At the end of 2012 there were 30 Swiss nationals living in Latvia.
Many of the congresses organised when Latvia first become independent in 1918 were held in Switzerland. The Confederation, which never recognised Latvia’s annexation by the Soviet Union, resumed diplomatic relations with the country in 1991. During the period of transition in the 1990s Latvia was a priority country for Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe. CHF 26m was provided for technical and financial assistance projects (healthcare system, environment, banking sector).
The Swiss Consulate was first opened in Riga in 1868 and closed when the USSR annexed the country in 1940. Consular representation in Switzerland began in 1919, while diplomatic relations were the responsibility of the Head of the Baltic Mission in Berlin. The Republic of Latvia re-emerged following the dissolution of the USSR, being recognised by the Swiss government in August 1991 shortly after the declaration of independence. In June 1992 Switzerland opened an embassy in Riga, which also looks after Swiss interests in Lithuania, and since 2011 in Estonia.