The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the integration policy in Latvia.
The Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence and the Society Integration Foundation, as well as non-governmental organisations are involved in the process of formation of cohesive society jointly with the Ministry of Culture.
The purpose of the integration policy is to create preconditions, in which the Latvian population has the possibility to cooperate in favour of shared goals forming the society, where everyone would feel safe and able to develop their talents, work and study, jointly creating richer cultural environment. Social ties, exchange of opinions and intercultural dialogue is the basis for cohabitation. In the context of integration, knowledge of the official language and preservation of cultural traditions in Latvia and the lands of residence of its diaspora are important.
The society integration policy is one of the most important components of state’s inner policy. The Latvian society is multiethnic – there are more than 150 different nationalities. Latvia has joined all the main international human rights instruments, including the Saeima ratified the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in May 2005. The Constitution of Latvia also guarantees the rights of minorities to preserve and develop their language, ethnic and cultural identity.
The most important policy planning document in the field of integration is National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Implementation Plan 2019-2020, which was approved in 2018. Presently the Ministry of Culture assesses the National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Guidelines for 2012-2018, and develops Social Integration Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027.
The supreme goal of the integration policy is strong, coherent Latvian nation, ensuring its unifying basis – preservation and enrichment of the Latvian language, culture and national identity, European democratic values, unique cultural space – for balanced development of the Latvian national democratic state. In the guidelines, social integration is explained as the inclusion of all the people living in Latvia into the society regardless of their ethnicity and self-identification.
Main action line directions:
1) Civil society and integration:
- educating the society about opportunities for civic engagement;
- encouraging citizens participation by providing sustainable support mechanisms;
- promoting tolerance and inclusion of socially excluded groups into society;
2) National identity: language and cultural space:
- strengthening use of Latvian language;
- strengthening of the national cultural space as a foundation for social cohesion;
- strengthening of the sense of belonging to Latvia and awareness of common historic values;
- creating a quality, democratic information space and increasing the role of mass media in integration and strengthening of the national identity;
3) new approaches in planning, supervision and implementation of the integration policy:
- ensuring policy planning based on data;
- ensuring development and use of innovative methods for integration policy planning.