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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rural Latvia Rejects EU

RIGA, Latvia -- Support for European Union membership is waning in Latvia due to the unclear prospects it will bring to the Baltic nation's agricultural sector, an opinion poll showed Wednesday.

The poll, conducted in February by the private SKDS agency, showed 43.5 percent of respondents were in favor of joining the EU if a referendum were held immediately, down from 49.6 percent in November 1999.

Agriculture accounts for less than 5 percent of Latvia's economy, but Eduards Kusners, head of the country's EU integration bureau, said rural areas, unsure of what EU membership will mean for them, were highly skeptical.

"The number of Euro-skeptics has grown by some 10 percent, largely due to opposition in rural centers, where in some case 51 percent are against membership," Kusners said.