13:16 GMT +321 February 2019
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    Northern Europe's Poorest Country Suggests Greece Copy Its Experience

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    Latvia's media and politicians have called Greece's debt deals "cheating" as its politicians remain reluctant to impose total austerity for its debt crisis.

    Politicians and media in Latvia have increasingly projected a negative attitude toward Greece's crisis, suggesting that the country try to copy Latvia's crisis experience, German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.

    A broken piggybank painted in the colours of the Greek flag lies amongst various euro coins in front of letters spelling the word 'GREECE' in this picture illustration taken in Berlin, Germany June 30, 2015
    © REUTERS / Pawel Kopczynski
    Latvia's economy is very different from that of Greece. Despite decades of deindustrialization and privatization following the Soviet Union's collapse, the country still manages to maintain trade ties to Russia and its Baltic neighbors which make up nearly half of its exports.

    Greece on the other hand, has a lion's share of its exports produced by oil refineries, with much of its industry producing domestic goods and construction materials. Unlike Greece which uses the euro, Latvia has its own currency, which it was able to devalue in response to its own debt crisis.

    "The situation is red-hot. Everybody wants to help, but I think that the level of tolerance towards Greece is too high," Latvia's former finance minister Andris Vilks told Latvian television, as cited by DW.

    Latvia's economy began to recover from the 2008 global financial crisis in 2010, aided by the currency devaluation. However, Latvians see Greece's higher wages and pensions as a sign that the country's people do not want to personally tighten their belts, despite Greece's recent massive austerity measures.

    "Well, at any rate, it's not accepted in the Nordic and the Baltic countries because it's too brutal, what the Greeks are doing. It's real cheating. I would even say that it's very brutal cheating, typical of the east," Vilks added.

    Eurozone leaders reached an agreement on a third bailout package for Greece on July 13. Negotiations on the details are currently underway. The Greek side signed the first required bill Thursday. The next bill is expected to be signed Wednesday. The final Greece-EU agreement will be signed after the sides agree upon the details.


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    European Union, debt crisis, austerity measures, Latvia, Greece
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