Latvia becomes the second Baltic country to sign a Cooperation Agreement with ESA. ESA’s Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations, Peter Hulsroj, and Latvian Minister for Education and Science, Tatjana Koke, signed the Cooperation Agreement in Riga on 23 July 2009.
Latvia follows Estonia, which signed a Cooperation Agreement in 2007, and discussions are currently ongoing with Lithuania to conclude the same kind of agreement.
Latvia has longstanding experience in astronomy and space science. The Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre, Bruker Baltic (a company specialised in the development and production of semiconductor detectors and spectrometric devices) and the Institute of Physics of University of Latvia are all potential partners for ESA activities. The Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry is already working with Astrium Germany to develop internal and external cryogenic insulation materials and technologies.
An ESA delegation first visited Riga in March 2004 and met several space organisations working in the navigation field. The former Latvian Minister for Economics, Mr Krisjanis Karins, had a meeting at ESA Headquarters in Paris in February 2005 to discuss in more detail the different types of cooperation that exist with ESA.
This signature continues the cycle of ‘rapprochement’ of all recent and new EU Member States towards ESA. So far, all the countries have expressed their intent to cooperate with ESA. The European Space Policy adopted by both EU and ESA Member States provides a unique frame to develop space activities within its industry, institutes and universities.