June 7, 2023

Latvia introduces the euro

latvia introduces the euro

"A very warm welcome to the euro area, latvia," german chancellor angela merkel said in a youtube video released tuesday by the latvian state chancellery. France’s president francois hollande spoke of "good news for europe and latvia".

Latvia leads on 1. January 2014 as 18. EU country adopts the euro and thus loses its domestic lats through community preservation. "I appreciate all the efforts and the remarkable progress made by latvia to join the euro," said eu commission president jose manuel barroso. The euro is a "strong, credible and stable currency".

German minister frank-walter steinmeier said in berlin: "the latvians have earned this step and worked hard for it. They have resolutely held on to the goal of joining the euro zone, even at a time when some people wanted to abandon the euro project."

With latvia as a new member, 333 million people live in the euro zone. The small country in northeastern europe received the green light from eu finance ministers to join the euro in july, and sovereignly met the conditions for accession. The baltic sea republic with a good two million inhabitants was able to overcome its deep crisis through tough austerity and reform measures and is now the fastest-growing eu country.

For EU commissioner olli rehn, the introduction of the euro has "restored the former soviet republic to the political and economic center of our continent. The strong recovery in latvia is also a "clear sign of encouragement" for other eu countries that are in a "difficult economic adjustment process," he said in brussel.

Andrus ansip, head of government of neighboring estonia, was particularly pleased with the practical benefits. "Already at the beginning of the new year we can use a common perception," he said. Together with latvian prime minister valdis dombrovskis, ansip plans to withdraw the first euro banknote from an ATM in riga shortly after midnight on new year’s day.

But as was the case three years ago in estonia, which was the last country to join the common currency area in 2011, the euro is being received with skepticism by the population of latvia. Fears of the "teuro" are joined by the nostalgia of having to give up the lats as one of the most important symbols of the independence from the soviet union regained in 1991.


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