A full-service government relations and public affairs firm prepared to address a question you did not know you had to ask.
VA Government is a full-service government relations and public affairs firm based in Latvia experienced in traditionally heavily regulated sectors, as well as emerging industries. VA Government serves its clients as advisors by helping them to navigate and educate stakeholders and decision-makers with key facts and insights to make grounded decisions that will advance clients’ businesses and institutional development goals.
We combine numerous years of experience and variety of issues we know, by advising clients from multiple industries including, but not limited to energy, pharmaceuticals, digital services, defense, FMCG and the environment.
Vladlens Kovaļevs is a managing partner of VA Government. Vladlens has been involved in assistance of multiple businesses in tech, telecommunication, financial, manufacturing, international and defense sectors. He specializes in government affairs and coalition management, as well as international and financial communications related to regulated transactions. Vladlens holds a BSc degree in Economics and Business from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and has completed Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at American University. Alongside tech, foreign affairs and modern European history, Vladlens is interested in active civic participation in the fields of non-governmental and public benefit organizations.
Ralfs Vīlands is a strategic partner of VA Government. Ralfs has represented clients from energy, pharmaceutical, automotive, telecommunications, tobacco, retail and FMCG industries. In his portfolio are such clients as Uber, BP, airBaltic, Swedbank, Kuwait Energy, Food Union, Pretkorupciju.lv, Maxima and others. He focuses on political communications and issues management. Ralfs is interested in geopolitcs, quality literature and cinematography.
Elīza Lazdāne joined VA Government in 2017. On daily basis Elīza works with clients from technology, transport, finance and FMCG industries. She has gained her previous experience in various fields – including the Assurance Department at Ernst & Young Baltic and Public Affairs Department of the U.S. Embassy in Riga. She has graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga earning a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business and gained additional experience during her exchange in Barcelona, studying in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Elīza has been actively involved in the field of non-governmental organizations, including being a part of the organisers and media team in The Second World Latvian Economics and Innovation Forum. Elīza’s hobbies include improvisation theatre, music and traveling.
Annija joined VA Government in spring of 2019. She has gained her previous experience at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the American and Caribbean Countries division and at the Permanent Representation of Latvia to the EU at the Political and Security Committee. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Riga Stradiņš University and has gained additional experience during her exchange in the Netherlands, studying at The University of Applied Science. She has obtained a Master’s degree from KU Leuven, Belgium with a specialization in EU External Relations. Additionally, she has gained experience in Jean Monnet project CEURO in the USA organized by the European Commission. On a daily basis Annija works with the clients from technology, FMCG and environment and sustainability industries. Her hobbies include traveling, art and cinema.
As of 2017 VA Government is an affiliate member of Interel Group. Interel Group is a global public affairs and government relations firm helping clients to manage political risk and capitalise on political opportunity. The Group covers more than 60 markets with three global hubs in Washington D.C., Brussels and Beijing. Over 1000 consultants provide political risk and opportunity analysis, and strategic engagement solutions. Interel Group delivers local and regional advice or one-stop-shop access to global support.
Having a broad network of contacts on a national level allows us to reach key decision-makers in the parliament, ministries, and regulatory agencies. Strategically forward thinking mapping and efficient engagement of the shareholders ensures helps our clients to reach their goals and boost their legislative agenda.
To foster public dialogue on an issue or support legislative agenda, grassroots advocacy is a vital tool. Public support and opinion are essential to reach major policy goals aimed at society-wide changes in legislation or regulation. This may be achieved by digital and media campaigns to raise public awareness of the relevant matter. With the growing digital presence of the relevant stakeholders, digital advocacy tools allow us to educate and activate society in order to achieve policy goals.
Even an ideal legislative proposal cannot be passed without the support of multiple stakeholder groups. Cooperation with the relevant business associations as well as NGOs creates a broad range of support allowing to make an official industry position used on local or EU levels. Industry association activation, strategy development, and execution may help to amplify the industry's stand on the relevant matters.
Also, in times of stability and prosperity, there is a need to prepare for a crisis. Maintenance of the status quo or active changes in the regulatory environment requires issue monitoring and consecutive management. Assessment of upcoming risks and challenges from regulators, policymakers and the executive branch allows us to protect the business interests of our clients. Preparing regulatory and media monitoring on the relevant matters allows the client to track the relevant activities and prepare the most effective strategy.
The policy is often driven by politics. A deep insight into the existing political environment gives us the ability to measure and predict actions of political circles, affecting businesses and other stakeholders. Political intelligence is critical in times of substantial change, pre- and post- elections, as well as in the daily operations to stay one step ahead of the competitors.
Local authorities play an important role in the Latvian political environment. It often affects not only regional but also national matters. Proper dialogue by acknowledging the specifics of an individual municipality allows us to reach the goals set by our clients on the regional and national levels.
From the traditional banking industry to the tech-driven fintech, financial services is a thriving field with substantial regulatory challenges. The digitalization of the financial sector imposes new regulatory discussions among the regulators. Compliance with anti-money laundering regulation, local fintech legislative framework – are all issues to be addressed by regulators and businesses.
Rapid technological advancement creates a demand for previously non-existent regulation. European Union (EU) and local level digital transformation requires new regulatory frameworks for companies operating in the fast-growing technology sector. Industry-level cooperation through associations allows shaping local positions on EU regulations to accommodate successful digital transformation.
Healthcare policy poses a substantial issue for national legislators as it is a crucial facet for society and regulates a multi-layered supply chain. The local industry has to navigate the policymakers' expectations and the market situation. The spread of Covid-19 has shown that global healthcare crises demand higher levels of healthcare funding as well as shape new priorities for the regulators. We, in VA Government, help regulators to understand and see the broader picture, taking into account the best interests of patients and businesses.
The industry has to face various regulatory frameworks regarding the packaging, composition of the food and responsible advertising. Sustainable food chains and production is the future, highlighted also on the EU level. The European Green Deal poses new challenges for the FMCG industry. Our experience in the FMCG industry gives us an opportunity to help clients to reach their objectives, by partnering with industry associations and educating the policymakers on the local and EU levels. Changes in the taxation system as well as additional restrictions may harm the industry, but not solve the negative aspects caused by excess consumption of the taxed products. Well positioned communication of industry activities to the regulatory bodies may foster its economic potential while protecting society from the negative aspects of excess consumption.
Issues of renewable energy, its production, and daily use in different sectors of the economy will exponentially grow in importance, driven by a cleaner energy trend. Implementation of new strategies to tackle plastic litter and to support innovative and sustainable packaging industries are on agenda for many businesses setting their internal sustainability goals. Clean energy, preserving biodiversity, circular economy, and carbon neutrality are just some of the aspects covered by the European Green Deal indicating that these will be the fields of interest for continuous improvement and up to date regulations. Agriculture and forestry are one of the key industries for the Latvian economy thus it is important for policymakers to find a compromise between boosting the economic impact and encouraging sustainable practices.
As the industry relies on various procurements it involves political interest. The industry requires an understanding of the specifics of the local politics to be able to navigate among the local players as well as establish a presence among the local stakeholders and media. Stakeholder mapping, analysis of local competition and legislation, creating the media presence are just some of the steps to build a local presence for foreign clients. Expertise in local procurements and establishing industry-specific legislation allows us to create a strategy curated for the client.