Latvia applies to join the Euro
Latvia is set to ask European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB) to assess its readiness to adopt the Euro in 2014. The EU member state seeks to know whether it is entitled to make the euro its national currency. A decision on Latvia's readiness is expected in June. Latvia is confident that it has met the EU criteria on deficits, debt and currency stability to qualify for the adoption of the eurozone currency. However, the ECB policy maker Erkii Liikanen said that long-term sustainability and institutions are currently essential with the threat of the ongoing eurozone crisis. Despite the EU's debt crisis, Latvia still believes that eurozone membership will offer greater stability than keeping its own lat currency. The Baltic state had to implement large austerity measures during the global crisis in 2008-2010 to keep the exchange rate of the lat fixed to the Euro. Due to the success of its policy, the country has been held up by some as an example to crisis-hit eurozone nations of how to solve budget deficit problems with political will.
"We can look at the past three years. Latvia was predictable. If we look now, we have the fastest economic growth, but at the same time, the price growth is very restrained," Andris Vilks, the country's finance minister, said in an interview.
"With that, we shouldn't have any negative surprises here. I think we've earned respect," he added.