Latvia to join Shaky Eurozone Club in 2014
Sunday, 17 February 2013

Despite continuing recession in the eurozone another country is joining. Latvia is switching from the lat to the euro next year.

­The transition to the common European currency is going to happen on January 1, 2014 after Latvian President Andris Berzins signed the law to introduce of euro on Friday.

In January the legislation was adopted by the Latvian parliament. After the adoption Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said the country had already met the Maastricht criteria and would request a convergence report from the European Commission and the European Central Bank on Latvia's readiness to join. “'From an economic and financial point of view, we do not see anymore hurdles in joining the euro-zone,” Rinkevics said, the Baltic Course reported.

Latvia’s Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis says “the alternative to the eurozone is being relegated to the periphery of Europe… joining the eurozone is in Latvia’s best long-term interests.”

A TNS survey shows over 63% of the population do not support the decision. The low level of public support made it possible for a referendum will be held on the issue. Last week, however, Harmony Center, Latvia’s biggest opposition party said it won’t seek a referendum on the euro. “Harmony Center considers delaying the ‘Euro adoption policy law’ to be an irresponsible action” since an elected parliament made the decision said Janis Urbanovics, the party’s parliamentary leader.

Latvia will become the 18th country to join the euro area, and the second Baltic state to do so. Lithuania intends to adopt the Euro by January 2015. The 2008 crisis made joining the euro less attractive for some countries, with Poland and the Czech Republic deciding not to enter the monetary union.



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