The Buzz in Latvia: Interview with Guntars Zile

2021 - 12 - 09
Article by: Guntars Zīle

COVID-19 remains one of the most prominent factors, directly and indirectly impacting the overall political, legal, and economic scenes in Latvia, according to COBALT Partner Guntars Zile.

“Latvia was one of the first countries in Europe to encounter the fourth wave of the pandemic, which led to another lockdown,” Zile says. “Last week, a large part of the restrictions was lifted but, undeniably, there are considerable implications. To name a few, issues such as vaccination and restrictions impacting business stir public debate. Therefore, COVID-19 remains a continuously discussed topic,” he adds.

“One of the most acute political and legal issues is the partially mandatory vaccination rule,” he explains. “According to this rule, public sector employees, inter alia state and municipality officials and healthcare workers, are required to get vaccinated, and vaccination refusal is a ground for dismissal. Since the rule’s adoption, hundreds of constitutional, administrative, and civil claims have already been filed in the courts, challenging the compatibility of the regulation with human rights and the legality of dismissals on this ground.” According to Zile, due to scale, it’s a new and unique legal challenge for all jurisdictions where mandatory vaccination, in one form or another, is already in place or is being discussed. One of the most controversial topics is the potential ‘dismissal’ of Members of the European Parliament who refuse to undergo mandatory vaccination. “Elected officials enjoy special constitutional guarantees against dismissal, which adds another unique layer of complexity to such cases,” he adds.

Read the full interview in CEE Legal Matters here.