Gov't launches "Want you back" campaign to urge Latvian emigrants to repatriate

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A governmental agency in Latvia is launching a social campaign intended to reach out to Latvians currently residing in foreign countries and encourage them to return to their motherland.

Latvia, whose population has been shrinking already since the early 1990s due to low birth rates, has lost hundreds of thousands of people to emigration. The Baltic country's accession to the European Union in 2004 enabled many Latvians to seek better life and job opportunities in the bloc's wealthier member states.

In recent years, however, the Latvian government has realized the necessity to address the problem and to lure back at least part of the emigrants as depopulation has started hurting the nation economy.

In the "Want You Back" campaign, initiated by the Latvian Institute, each resident of Latvia is invited to address their friends and relatives in foreign countries and tell them in a very personal way that they are welcome home at any time, the institute's director Aiva Rozenberga said on public radio Thursday.

"The campaign is focusing specifically on our relationships with relatives and close friends who are currently living in foreign countries, and it is intended to tell them clearly and directly -- I want you back," said Rozenberga.

"If we really want someone close to us to return, the relationship has to be tended like a flower in a garden," she said.

Rozenberga herself has recorded a video with a heartfelt appeal to Latvians emigrants, inviting them to return, and has posted it on social networks. "Everyone is invited to do the same," the head of the Latvian Institute said. Enditem

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