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Latvia to become 18th member of euro zone

Staff writer |
Since July 2013, the Latvian authorities have carried out a large-scale publicity campaign to inform people of the advantages of its entry to the euro zone to ease people's concerns over possible rises in commodity prices and unemployment rate after joining the bloc.

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According to government regulations, shops in Latvia are now showing product prices in two currencies: lat and euro. The euro will officially be brought into Latvia's formal circulation in 2014, but some private shops are already accepting euro payments now.

Latvians are now busy converting lat into the euro. Riga's shopping centers have also witnessed an increasing number of customers who want to spend their lats in hands before the New Year.

Latvia's central bank said there is no need to be panic, as people can still convert their lats into the euro at the central bank without paying any fees after the official circulation of the euro.

Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks said during a recent TV interview that the transition to the euro would not cause any serious problems, as the experience of its neighboring country Estonia has shown.

Andris Ruselis, deputy governor of the Bank of Latvia, said that euro cash has already arrived in Latvia and the central bank has rich reserves of euro notes with various value. Euro coins have already been delivered to Latvia during Christmas time.

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