Latvia to adopt euro

CNC report from Beijing
Added On July 10, 2013

Latvia is set to to adopt the euro as its currency as of Jan.1, 2014.

The Baltic nation becomes the 18th member of the single currency area.

Olli Rehn, EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs made the announcement on Tuesday.

SOUNDBITE(EGNLISH): OLLI REHN, EU commissioner
"From Jan. 1 next year, Latvians can begin making purchases in euro at the conversion rate at which has been formally agreed today at 0.702804 lats to the euro. That was possible thanks to Latvia’s hight degree sustainable conversions with the euro area.”

The Baltic nation, an EU member since 2004, has been looking to join the 17-member eurozone for several years.

However, the decision has met with doubts about the timing of joining the currency area as it is still struggling with the debt crisis.

Latvia's finance minister is confident that the country will reap the rewards from joining the eurozone despite the bloc's ongoing economic problems.

SOUNDBITE(EGNLISH): ANDRIS VILKS, Latvian Finance Minister
"Those hard times which lasted at least several years doesn't matter so much because I think we did our job and we see a lot of benefits in mid and long term in spite of today somehow maybe not so good environment but we are going forward because we know how important this is going."

Financial ministers present in Brussels also approved the recommendations to 23 member states endorsed by the European Council on 27 and 28 June.

These are suggestions on the economic and employment policies set out in their national reform programs.

SOUNDBITE(EGNLISH): OLLI REHN, EU commissioner
"With the culmination of the third European Semester of economic policy coordination, we have now entered the implementation phase. This means that the onus is now on the Member States to address the bottlenecks to growth and jobs in line with the Council's recommendations."

Just hours after Latvia was green-lighted to become the eurozone's 18th member, global agency Fitch upgraded Latvia's credit rating by a notch to BBB+.