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The fight against poverty and social exclusion in Latvia: The Baltic Solidarity Days

Riga Solidarity Days Poster

Around 10 000 people pass through Riga’s central station every day and on the 28 October they stopped to watch the activities organised in the framework of the Baltic Solidarity Days.

Latvian NGOs involved in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, the Ministry of Social Affairs and European Commission representation in Latvia, had set up information stands in the station. There passers by could pick up information and ask questions about the work of the national NGOs and government, the 2010 European Year and Eurochild. There were also numerous performances including dancing and singing by people of all ages, from all social backgrounds as well as people with disabilities. Outside the station, the Latvian Diaconia Centre served around 1000 portions of soup and bread to passers by.

On the following day 150 people attended the conference which was held at the University of Latvia and around 600 people watched the conference on streaming. Amongst others Uldis Augulis, current Minister for Welfare in Latvia, Romans Apsitis, Ombudsman of the Republic of Lativa and representatives from Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland and Sweden commented on combating poverty and social exclusion in their respective countries.

Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, ambassador of the European Year and former President of Latvia analysed the impact of the 2010 European Year and the current situation in Latvia; she stated “Let’s not only think about how to cut expenses but also how to encourage development. There are challenges ahead. We won’t have a flourishing welfare state by next year but there are signs that the situation is improving”.