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Rezekne

Rezekne with its population of 35,000 inhabitants is not only historical and spiritual centre of south-eastern part of Latvia called Latgale, but it is also geographical centre. Therefore, the city is called "The heart of Latgale". Its layout in the cross of two strategically important transportation trunk roads and railway (Riga-Moscow and Petersburg-Warsaw) creates good preconditions for successful development of the city. During Soviet times (until 1991) Rezekne was an important industrial centre of the region. In the industrial structure the dominant were the metalworking enterprises as well as food industry and woodworking enterprises. In 1957 the Milk Processing Company was built, five years later – the plant for equipment of dairy production, in 1971 - the plant of electrical building equipment. The city has got significant net of railway and road transport.After Latvia became independent in 1991 and following industrial decline Rezekne had to search new opportunities for its development in the changed political, economical and geographical environment (as Rezekne find itself at the periphery of the European Union). Since 1997 the “Law on Rezekne Special Economic Zone” is applied in Rezekne and in compliance with it the tax rebates are applied to the enterprises with the RSEZ status. In 2006 the Latgale Engineering Technology Centre was established which will become the background of the innovative ideas in the branches of metal processing and others. During last years Rezekne has become an important educational centre of Latgale, two higher educational institutions has been established: Rezekne University College and local branch of Baltic International Academy.

Key challenges for Rezekne at the moment are connected with growing rate of unemployment, fast industrial/population decline, lack of financial resources and investment opportunities.

During last years Rezekne considerably suffered from economic and industrial crisis. Its biggest industrial enterprises were closed, for example milk-processing plant bankrupted and the plant for production of electrical instrument “Rebir” changed its location for China. Latgale region has always had a highest unemployment rate in Latvia but currently this indicator in Rezekne has reached 24%!

Rezekne City Council set a challenging task to work out and implement a strategy of the city development which would allow returning Rezekne reputation of a site which is attractive both for local population to stay, work and live here as well as for foreign investments.

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