Participating Members

Valdis Birkavs

Prime Minister of Latvia

Dr. Valdis Birkavs is one of the activists of the National Awakening movement (“The Singing Revolution”) in Latvia and as one of the leading figures in the process of renewal of democratic principles in state administration and the legal system. He was a founding member and, from 1988 to 1995, president of the Latvian Bar Association - the first democratic lawyers’ association in the former USSR. It was on Dr. Birkavs initiative and under his leadership that the legal foundations for Latvian independence were laid. He is co-author of the May 4, 1990 Declaration of Independence. He is also the author of over 150 academic papers and published articles. Most of his academic work has dealt with the problems of combating and preventing crime, with democracy and the power of the law, international politics and human rights.

Member of Parliaments since 1990, he is a founding member of the liberal political party Latvijas ceļš (Latvian Way) and has been chairman of the party from the day it was founded (elected almost unanimously 4 times) as well as vice-president and member of the executive committee of the Liberal International (since 1997). He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia (after renewal of the Constitution) (1993-1994) and has served as Foreign Minister and Minister of Justice in 7 governments.

Under his leadership Latvia set out and consistently proceeded on the road to integration in European and transatlantic structures, including the European Union and NATO.

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