Justin Vela

The Latvian financial crisis…

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Theological student Anris Rancans, 25, demonstrates against the Latvian government at the tent city in downtown Riga, Latvia on 20 March, 2010.

RIGA-It is a disappointment,

Tonight I’m flying back to Finland from Latvia, which is the EU country suffering the worst of the financial crisis.

As one Irishman who has worked in Riga since 2006 told me, “I’m sick of the word crisis.”

I was first in Riga in 2005, traveling as a adventuring 19 year old through eastern Europe.

When I returned briefly in February or March 2008 to stay with a Latvian journalist… then again later that year when I had a Latvian girlfriend, there was an incredible optimism in the air.

After joining the EU there was a sense that Latvia could do anything. The girlfriend at the time was a manager at an international company, a student, and flying to Turkey every few months to vacation.

“Those days are over,” is what I’ve heard in Riga. It has all changed, and quickly. The ‘fat years’ of 2007-2008 are gone. Citizens already know what has gone wrong.

So what has happened?

Read my forthcoming article to find out.


Written by Justin Vela

March 20, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Europe

Tagged with , , , , ,

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