Miroslavs Mitrofanovs has joined the European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament, part of Greens/EFA.
He replaces Tatjana Ždanoka who has left the European Parliament to focus on her party's campaign for the Latvian national elections to the Saeima due to be held in October this year.
Miroslavs Mitrofanovs is a former Member of the Latvian Parliament (Saeima) and Co-Chairman of the political party Latvijas Krievu savienība (Latvian Russian Union).
The party campaigns for equal rights for all residents of Latvia, where nearly 40% of the population is Russian speaking. LKS opposes current attempts by the Latvian government to replace bilingual education in minority secondary schools with instruction in Latvian only.
Mirsolavs Mitrofanovs said:
"It is an honour to serve as a Member of the European Parliament and to succeed Tatjana Ždanoka.
"We will continue to defend human rights and equality for all.
"The European Union belongs to all of its people, no matter their origins or what languages they speak.
"Good and stable relations with Russia have a crucial importance for the EU, and the presence of a native Russian-speaking MEP is a good base for strengthening these relations.
"In these challenging times, we must ensure that we continue building a Europe of the peoples in the interests of all the peoples, rather than the privileged few."