21 September 2003

EU membership wins in Latvia

Yesterday's referendum in Latvia on membership in the European Union found a substantial majority voting to join the expanding proto-federation next May. According to this Reuters report, "With all votes counted in the ex-Soviet republic, supporters led nay-sayers by 67 percent to 32.3, with 0.7 percent of ballots invalid. Turnout was 72.5 percent, way over the 35 percent to make Saturday's vote binding." Latvia becomes the ninth of ten prospective EU members to vote in favour of accession, while Cyprus, the tenth, will not be holding a referendum.

There are some Latvians, however, who are less than enthusiastic about giving up some of their country's sovereignty to Brussels only a dozen years after they finally succeeded in reclaiming it from Moscow. At the end of the day, these Eurosceptics could not counter the undoubted appeal of a "return to Europe."

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