Latvia joins the euro area

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Despite the long-lasting economic crisis, EU finance ministers on Tuesday formally approved Latvia’s accession to the euro area.

The Latvian finance minister said ahead of an ECOFIN meeting on Tuesday that the country is confident it will benefit from the euro adoption despite the bloc’s economic problems.
Latvia is the 18th EU member state that joins the euro.

‘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; it’s a very important angle for very small and open economies especially even neighbours have Euro’, said Latvian finance minister Andris Vilks.

As Europe struggles to cope with cash-strapped nations, Eurogroup’s president said Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that Latvia now meets all criteria to join currency area.

The exchange rate has been set at around 0.7 lats to one euro.

The small Baltic nation, an EU member since 2004, has been looking to join the euro zone for several years.

Latvia will start using the euro in January 2014.

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