Country report Latvia - Work Package 1 Ex post evaluation of Cohesion Policy programmes 2007-2013, focusing on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF)
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In Latvia, the economic and financial crisis brought to a halt the exceptional economic growth experienced over the 2000-2007 period. Between 2007 and 2009, GDP contracted by more than 9% a year, the proportion of working-age population in employment declined by over 8 percentage points and unemployment climbed to 17.5% of the labour force. The budget deficit increased to 9% of GDP and Latvia requested the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC) to help resist financial market pressure.
Regional disparities remained persistent in particular between the Capital city, Riga, and the rest of the country. Although they appeared after accession to the EU in 2004, the Capital city showed more dynamism than the rest of the country in the aftermath of the recession.
Over the 2007-2013 period, Latvia received ERDF and Cohesion Fund support under the Convergence Objective support. In total, the funding made available for the period amounted to EUR 3.9 billion, equivalent to 2.6% of GDP and over 50% of Government capital expenditure. As a result, EU funding played an important role in the recovery of the economy after the recession. The rate of implementation of programmes, as reflected in Commission payments of funding relative to the total amount available, was reasonable consistent over the period and by the end of 2015, all the funding seems to have been spent.
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