Why is Latvia still in the EU?


Official name: Republic of Latvia
Capital: Riga
Continent: Europe
Currency: Euro

Language: Latvian
Area: 62,196 km² (Germany: 357,111 km²)
Population: 2.3 million (Germany: 81.7 million)
National holiday: May 4th, restoration of independence

Baltic state
Latvia lies between Lithuania and Estonia on the Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe and is the middle of the Baltic states. Russia and Belarus also border Latvia. Latvia is slightly smaller than the German state of Bavaria. The capital is called Riga and the citizens of Latvia speak Latvian. Most Latvians can also converse in Russian.

A democratic state
Since August 1991 - after the collapse of the Soviet Union - Latvia has been an independent state and a parliamentary democracy. The country has been a member of the European Union since 2004.

Land of lakes and forests
Latvia has over 2000 lakes, but no mountains. The highest point in Latvia is 311 meters high. That's not much, even the Berlin television tower "Alex" is higher. The Latvian landscape consists of hills, rivers, lakes and even more forests. Almost 50 percent of the land area is forested. That is why the wood industry is also very important for the Latvian economy.

"Berry" hunger?
The national dish in Latvia is "zirni un spekis" - gray peas with bacon. Otherwise, the people there eat a lot of dark bread, preferably with honey and milk. During the summer, Latvians eat a lot of berries. They don't buy raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in the supermarket, but pick them directly from nature.

Amber everywhere
With a bit of luck you can find amber on the coast. Hence the name "Amber Land" for Latvia. And the Latvians love their amber. That is why there is also amber cheese, an amber sea and the popular Latvian first names Dzintars and Dzintar also mean amber.

And the music?
Latvians love to sing and have a lot of folk songs and of course an amber choir.

Federal states / federalism

Germany is a federal state. This is the name given to the amalgamation of several states to form a superordinate state. We call the individual states federal states, for example North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg or Bavaria. There are a total of 16 federal states, including the so-called city states Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. Political power in Germany is divided between the federal government in Berlin (one often speaks of the "Bund") and the governments of the individual federal states. For example, the federal government is responsible for foreign policy. It represents Germany externally. This form of power distribution between the federal government and the federal states is called federalism. The term comes from the Latin word "foedus", which means "alliance", "state treaty".

The individual federal states, together with their governments, in which a prime minister and ministers also sit, decide on the organization of the police or school and cultural policy. It can therefore happen that a final exam in Bavaria is graded differently than in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The distribution of tasks between these two political levels - federal and state - is regulated in the Basic Law.

Here you will find a graphic that shows, among other things, how many votes the various federal states have in the Federal Council.

Citizen / middle class

You are a citizen, and so are your friends. Today almost all people are citizens of, for example, Germany, France, Italy or other countries. In the past, people were called "citizens" who lived in the vicinity of a castle and had the right to seek protection within the castle walls if there was a threat of war. The farmers or the traveling traders and wanderers did not have this right. Guests of the castle often had different rights than the citizens. From the term "citizen" the "bourgeoisie" developed. They were the city dwellers. The bourgeoisie was different from other groups in society in terms of its work, clothing, housing and all manner of its own. Today these differences no longer play a role and all citizens of a state have the same rights and obligations.


The term comes from the Greek and means "rule of the people". This form of government has existed in Germany since 1949, before it existed from 1918 to 1933. Democracy means: All citizens have the same rights and obligations. They are not ruled by an emperor or a king, nor are they governed by a general. All people are free to speak their minds, to gather, to get information. There are different parties that publish their ideas in so-called party programs. In a democracy, citizens vote for people and parties by whom they want to be governed for a certain period of time. And if the government does its job badly, the people can choose another government in the next election.

In a democracy, everything the state does must follow the rules of the constitution and applicable laws. In Germany these rules are contained in the Basic Law. The democratic state is therefore always also a constitutional state.

From 1949 to 1990 there was a second German state in Germany, the "German Democratic Republic", or GDR for short. Although the term "democracy" appeared in the name of the state, the GDR was not a democracy.


Germany is in the middle of Europe. With an area of ​​10 million square kilometers, Europe is the second smallest continent or part of the world after Australia. This is the name given to large contiguous land masses with associated islands and seas. There are five continents on our planet: Asia, America, Africa, Europe, Australia. Germany would fit into Europe about 33 times. The Ural Mountains in Russia demarcate Europe from Asia in the east; in the south the Mediterranean is the border with Africa. To the west and north of Europe lies the Atlantic Ocean. The southernmost point of Europe is on Cyprus, the northernmost is the North Cape in Norway. If you were to travel from the southernmost point of the continent to the northernmost, you would be on the road for four to five days by car and ship - without traffic jams and breaks.

There are many different countries in Europe, including many small countries. A total of over 700 million people live here. Over 60 different languages ​​are spoken.

Many European states have come together in the European Union (EU) to pursue a common policy in some areas. Do you still want to know where the name Europe comes from? This name was taken from Greek myths. "Europe" was the name of the daughter of a Phoenician king. It was stolen by Zeus, the king of the gods, who disguised himself as a bull. This is why Europe is often portrayed in art as a woman with a bull.

EU: European Union

The European Union (abbreviated: EU) is an association of European states that have common political goals. The EU has existed since November 1, 1993. On that day, twelve states, including Germany, joined together to form the European Union. This was previously agreed in the Maastricht Treaty. Before that there was already an association of European states, the so-called "European Community". But it had different goals than the EU and was organized differently.
Every country in Europe has the opportunity to become a member of the European Union. However, some requirements must be met for this. One of the most important requirements is that the future member is democratic. Today 28 countries belong to the EU. They have a total of over 500 million inhabitants.

Members of the European Union
These are the members of the EU: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the United Kingdom (Great Britain) and the Greek part of Cyprus. If all states that have applied for membership join the EU in the next few years, the EU will have more than 30 members.

Common European Policy
The states that have come together in the EU want to work together on many political, economic and social issues. Together they want to ensure that prosperity in Europe is secured and that people can live in peace. Such a common policy is sometimes quite difficult. All states in the Community are still independent states and have their own governments. Sometimes there is a dispute between the EU and individual states - and of course also between the states among themselves. It's like being in a big family. It is not always easy to come to an agreement.

Since 1999, many EU countries have had a common currency: the euro. This facilitates trade and business between the participating countries.

You may have noticed that there are sometimes small checkpoints at the borders with the Netherlands, France or other EU countries, but there are no passport controls. In the past, you always had to show a passport when driving to another country. Today the states of the EU are only allowed to control the borders in exceptional cases. The fact that traveling in Europe from one country to another is so easy today shows that the people on our continent live in a "Common House Europe".

By the way, the term "union" comes from Latin and means "union".


Can you tell me the capital of this or that country? This is a popular quiz question. From Germany it is Berlin, from Poland Warsaw, from Sweden Stockholm, you all know that. The capital is usually the city of a country in which the government and parliament have their seat. It is often the largest city in the country, but it doesn't always have to be that way. Washington, for example, is the capital, but by no means the largest city in the United States.


The passport asks for "citizenship" in one line. Most of us say: German. With our neighbors it would be noted that they have, for example, Polish or Dutch citizenship. Children usually have the same nationality as their parents.

What does "state" mean? The word comes from the Latin "status" and the Italian "stato" and means something like "state" or "constitution". Incidentally, the term was first used in the 15th century by the Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli and at the end of the 18th century it also became established in the German-speaking world.

State means an association of many people who (voluntarily) live in a certain, demarcated area. Most of the time, a state has grown over a longer period of time, and its citizens are linked by the same nationality. This community is called the people of the state; the territory in which the people of the state live is the territory of the state. This also includes the air space above and a certain strip of the territorial sea, usually three nautical miles. A state is normally not dependent on any other power, it makes its own laws. He is sovereign. The police, the military and other state organs exercise state authority. They ensure that the law is observed and that the independence of the state is not threatened by any other power.

A state has a certain form of rule and government. With us and in many other countries it is democracy in which the people elect their representatives to parliament. Other states have, for example, a monarchy or a dictatorship as a form of rule.

houses of Parliament

The word "parliament" comes from the French word "parler" (in German: "speak") and means "representation of the people". The members of the parliament (representatives of the people) sit in parliament. New laws are discussed and passed in parliament. That is why the parliament is also called the legislative assembly or "legislature". This comes from the Latin term "legislatio", which means "legislation".

The parliament controls the government. For example, if the government proposes to send soldiers to a war zone or to increase taxes, but the elected representatives vote against it, the proposal cannot be carried out. There are many parliaments in Germany: in the municipalities, the cities and the federal states. The parliament for the whole country is the German Bundestag.

There are also student and pupil parliaments. The elected sit in all of these representations and discuss what is best for their voters. The European Union also has a parliament. The representatives are elected in the various member states of the EU. The European Parliament works in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.

Warsaw Pact

A few years after the end of the Second World War, two military-political alliances were founded. In the west, NATO was founded in 1949 by the USA, Canada and ten European countries. In the east the "Warsaw Pact" was established in 1955 under the leadership of the Soviet Union, to which the then communist states Albania, Bulgaria, the GDR, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union belonged. With the "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance" (as the treaty was officially called), the Soviet Union wanted to counterbalance NATO and secure its power in Central and Eastern Europe. In the severe crises of the Cold War, NATO and the Warsaw Pact were hostile to each other on several occasions. There were threats of war and both sides obtained more and more weapons. With the end of the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991.

Economy / economy

When people work, they very often produce something. They build cars, machines, houses, sew clothes, bake bread, plant grain or grow fruit. Many others can be added to these examples. All areas in which people produce something together are called the economy. This also includes the services. These are all activities where people work but nothing is produced directly, i.e. trade, transport, banking, insurance, administration, police, etc. Individual areas of the economy are, for example, agriculture or the construction industry, mining, the auto industry or the food industry.

In the economy, on the one hand, demand regulates supply: the more people want a product, i.e. ask for a product, the more this product is produced and offered. If a lot of people want a certain brand of jeans, then the manufacturers of jeans will make sure that you can buy those jeans as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, the demand is also aroused by offers. For example, if a new computer game has been developed and is on the market, it should also be in demand. People are then encouraged to buy primarily through advertising.

But if a product is no longer in demand, i.e. cars of a certain brand no longer find buyers, then they will no longer be built. So they are no longer offered.

In summary, it can be said that a country's economy must ensure that people get the goods and services they need.

The economic order in Germany is the social market economy.

The term "economy" is often used when speaking of "economy".

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