Union of European Latvians

The Union of European Latvians (ELA) unites European Latvian and Latvian commonwealth non-governmental organisations registered outside Latvia.

The working aim of ELA is to represent Latvian Diaspora interests in European scale, the coordination of its member organisations’ work in the spheres of information, education and culture and promoting of cooperation projects between the member organisations, as well as with related and other nationalities’ emigrant organisations.

Specific ELA works’ aims are:

  • To promote the maintaining of the Latvian ethnic identity, who live in European countries, availability of Latvian language acquiring and popularising of Latvian culture;
  • To strengthen Latvian, who live in European countries civil bond with Latvia, to promote European Union’s civil awareness;
  • To promote tolerance and mutual understanding between Latvians living in European countries and citizens of Latvian countries of residence;
  • To promote understanding of Latvian history in Europe and maintaining of totalitarian regime victim memory;
  • To support Latvian government’s efforts to promote the repatriation of the Latvian citizens living in emigration.

ELA supports and promotes European Union principles and basic values – closer union between European countries and nations, united economic space, free movement of people, respect towards human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality and rule of law, respect towards European culture and language diversity. To promote implementing of its aims, ELA cooperates with European and national level non-governmental organisations, as well as with Latvia’s, European countries’ and European Union institutions.

Member organisations and associated member organisations work within ELA. Every outside Latvia working Latvian or Latvian commonwealth non-governmental organisation can become a member organisation or associate member organisation of ELA.

In 2015 in ELA are 11 member organisations (Latvian Culture Society in Graz, Latvian National Culture Society in Estonia, Association "Luxembourg–Latvia", Latvian Society in Ireland, Latvian Association of France, Association of Latvians in Sweden, the Daugava Hawks in Germany, Latvian National Council in Great Britain, Latvian Community in Germany, Latvian Association in Belgium, the Daugava Hawks Foundation) and 6 associated member organisations (Netherlands-Latvian Society "Latvija",  Latvian Association of Peterborough (UK), Latvian Society in Norway, Latvian Union for Latvians in Ireland, Latvian – Finnish Family Society "Laivas", Association of Latvians in Sweden).

ELA is a member of the World Free Latvian Union (PBLA). Since December 2010 ELA is a member of the European living abroad national organisations’ federation - Europeans Throughout the World (ETTW).

ELA main decision making body is the member organisations’ meeting that is called together by the ELA Presidium not rarely than once a year.  The member organisations’ meeting elects the Presidium of 6 people to two years, including the Chairman and Vice Chairman of ELA. The term of office of the current Presidium will end in autumn 2015.  The Chairmen of the ELA Presidium is Aldis Austers.


The predecessor of the Union of European Latvians (henceforth ELA), European Centre of the Latvian Liberation Committee (henceforth LAK EC), was established on July 31, 1951 in London. In the foundation meeting participated the leading officials from the Latvian National Council in Great Britain (Mag. iur. A. Abakuks, J. Skujevics, A. Sprudžs, lieutenant colonel K. Strazdiņš, Mag. iur. L. Tālnora, composer, colonel A. Jērums, colonel R. Osis, secretary of the embassy O.Rozītis, Belgium Latvian National Committee (sworn advocate K. Gulbis), Latvian Union in Denmark (E. Bušs), Latvian Aid Committee in France (Bruno Rozītis) and Latvian Association of France (V. Pētersons), Latvian Central Council in Germany (colonel V. Janums, R. Liepiņš), LNFS (Dr. V. Ginters, engineer A. Ozols; since February 15, 1953: Sweden Latvians’ Central Council and Latvian Ambassador from Italy (professor A. Spekke). As honorary guests in the meeting participated also the ambassadors K. Zariņš, J. Feldmanis and Dr. O. Grosvalds. LAK EC was founded with an aim to promote Latvian liberation and to renew Latvia’s independency, as well as to coordinate its work in separate countries in Europe. The organisation had clear political task – to expand the propaganda towards Communist regime in Latvia and demand the resumption of Latvia’s independency. The important aim of the organisation was to coordinate cultural and educational works of the emigrated Latvian organisations.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the restoration of the independency of the Republic of Latvia the aims of the organisation changed and on September 23, 1995 the Latvian Liberation Committee Centre was transformed to Western Europe Latvian Union (abbreviation: RLA). In the meeting participated the officials from Latvian National Council in Great Britain (Andrejs Ozoliņš, Anita Kalna-Timane, Dzidra Purmale, Laima Spīkmane-Brauna, Lilija Zobena; Daugava Hawks Foundation: J. Āpša, A. Lindens), Sweden Latvians’ Central Council (Mudīte Hoogland-Krasta, Raimonds Krastiņš) and Germany Latvians’ Central Council (Arturs Cipulis). RLA was working as the Latvian organisations’ agency in Western Europe, promoting implementation of the Latvian nationally political interests in Western Europe countries and international organisations and coordinating work of the Latvian organisations in the spheres of information, education and culture.

To overcome the artificially created dividing of the Europe in Western and Eastern parts and to find ways how to join in the organisation’s work more European Latvian organisations, the Western Europe Latvians’ Union was renamed to the Union of European Latvians (abbreviation ELA) on September 11, 2006 in the enlarged Presidium meeting of the Western Europe Latvians’ Union in Riga. In the meeting participated representatives from the Latvian organisations from Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway and Ireland. The name “Union of European Latvians” was not newly invented, but was taken over from the LAK EC foundation protocol on July 30, 1951 that was the suggestion of the sworn advocate K. Gulbis that reflects not only the praxis of other states’ union names, but also the historic continuation.

With the Latvia’s joining the EU and NATO not only new opportunities, but also new challenges arouse. To implement more successfully its aims and to widen the working sphere, the ELA member organisations’ meeting made decision to register the Union of European Latvians as an official legal person and affirmed new statutes on September 12, 2009 in Hamburg.  In April 2010 ELA received the status of the legal person registered in Latvia.


The work of ELA is focused on the representing of interests of the Latvian citizens and ethnic Latvians living in Europe and on strengthening of Latvian Diaspora organisations’ work, promoting mutual cooperation offering informative and material support.

The Union actively works to solve a lot of problems topical to Latvians living abroad – question of double citizenship, promoting of civil participation, availability of Latvian education abroad, facilitation of repatriation. ELA has closely cooperated with Latvian government promoting amendments of Citizenship Law that took effect on October 1, 2013. Now Latvian citizens, who live abroad can keep their citizenship and at the same time to receive other country’s citizenship, as well as renew their Latvian citizenship if it has been forfeited due to former laws.

ELA works to popularise Latvian culture and history, expand Latvian language teaching programmes to Latvian children outside Latvia, provide information about Latvian cultural life and negotiate with Latvian institutions about possibilities to facilitate participation in voting process of Latvians living abroad.

ELA promotes European Diaspora’s Latvian Song festival’s tradition outside Latvia by organising European Latvians’ Song Festival on June 21, 2015 in Brussels to celebrate the ending of Latvia’s Presidency at the European Union.

Since 2010 ELA gives financing to the member organisations’ projects that are oriented towards several Latvian communities’ cooperation.


Address: Union of European Latvians, Lāčplēša Street 29-5, LV -1011, Riga
E-mail: prezidijs@ela.lv

Chairman of the Presidium: Aldis Austers E-mail: aldis.austers@gmail.com
Communication expert: Lāsma Gaitniece E-mail: lasmag2007@inbox.lv

Home Page www.ela.lv