Norway and Latvia

 The diplomatic relations between Latvia and Norway were restored on August 27th 1991. The Norwegian Embassy opened on November 27th the same year with the Ambassador Torbjørn Aalbu handing over his credentials to the Latvian president that day.  Relations between Norway and Latvia are good. Representatives from the two countries meet regularly in various forums, both at a political and official level. Two important multilateral forums is NATO and the EEA, as well as the UN. During the Latvian EU Presidency in the spring of 2015, 18 political visits from Norway to Riga were conducted. In 2016, during the Latvian leadership of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the political relations between Norway and Latvia remained strong. The leadership rotated from Latvia to Norway in 2017. Norwegian companies are among the largest foreign investors in Latvia, and more than 300 Norwegian companies and firms are registered all over Latvia.  Norway has an extensive cooperation with Latvia through the EEA grants and financial orders. The purpose of these financial mechanisms is to reduce economic and social gap and inequality. Another important purpose of the EEA financial program is to strengthen the bilateral relations between Latvia and Norway. During the period 2009 to 2014, the financial support to Latvia was approximately 73 million Euro. Some of the key areas has been the justice sector, climate, municipal cooperation, cultural heritage, and support for NGO’s, innovation in green industry and tripartite cooperation within enterprises. Negotiations for the next period began in January 2017. Norway and Latvia also cooperate well and closely bilateral within NATO, and several bilateral exercises has taken place over the years. From May 1st to September 1st 2015, Norway was in charge of the Baltic air surveillance (BAP). The cultural cooperation between Latvia and Norway is widespread, and many Norwegian municipalities have friendship municipalities in Latvia. Currently, approximately 10000 Latvians live in Norway. Latvia is also a popular destination for higher education for many Norwegian students who wish to study medicine, and the Association of Norwegian Students Abroad (ANSA) has more than 100 members in Latvia.