Latvians in Belgium meet with foreign minister

The Latvian community in Belgium continues to grow, now numbering about 500, although it faces problems in educating its children, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks learned during a May 15 meeting in Brussels.

The ethnic language school in Brussels lacks teachers of history and geography, while students who have graduated from Belgian schools face hurdles enrolling in Latvian colleges and universities, Pabriks was told, according to a press release from the ministry.

Pabriks will pursue the matter with the Ministry of Education and Science and will look into creation of a Latvian language track in one of the schools created for children of those working for European Union institutions, the ministry said.

The Latvian society in Belgium has about 40 members and the number is growing, Aldis Austers, deputy head of the society, told Pabriks. The society oversees the school, a choir and theatrical troupe. It is seeking funding from the Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration.

Pabriks, according to the foreign ministry, thanked Gita Pāvila for her work in leading the Latvian choir in Belgium. He also noted the work of Ambassador Jānis Lazdiņs and his family, as well as that of Latvian National Committee Chairman Jānis Jerumanis, in maintaining Latvian identity in Belgium.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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