Adoption of the euro by Latvia:
Extracts from the press conference by Valdis DOMBROVSKIS, Latvian Prime Minister, and Andris VILKS, Latvian Minister of Finances
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council / Justus Lipsius
End production: 09/07/2013 First transmission: 09/07/2013
The Council has today adopted a decision allowing Latvia to adopt the euro as its currency as of 1 January 2014. This decision will extend the euro area to 18 member states, and gives Latvia almost six months to prepare for the changeover.
The Council also adopted regulations setting a permanent conversion rate for the Latvian lats against the euro, and adapting certain technical provisions on the euro. Euro notes and coins will be issued in Latvia on 1 January 2014.
The conversion rate is set at 0.702804 Latvian lats to one euro, which corresponds to the current central rate of the lats in the EU's exchange rate mechanism (ERM II).
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by Valdis Dombrovskis, Latvian Prime Minister (In English) saying that: I would like to thank everybody who had been participating in Latvia's way towards Euro accession since really it has been a long journey ever since we were joining the EU and had the goal of Euro adoption also in our EU accession treaty until this were a moment when we finally arrived and yes we are joining the Eurozone as of January 1st of next year.
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||SOUNDBITE by Valdis Dombrovskis (In English) saying that: We believe that it's a positive development for Latvia; it will facilitate economic development in several ways trough the possibility to have lower interest rates because whatever currency exchange risks there might be calculated by financial markets between Lats and Euro would disappear. It will also help us to reduce currency conversion costs; we are a very small and open economy and doing around 70% of our foreign trade in Euros. We spend a lot of money just converting from Lats to Euro back and forth; this cost will be taken away from economy.
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||SOUNDBITE by Andris Vilks, Latvian Minister of Finances (In English) saying that: It's a very important day for Latvia because it is not just a technical issue, just switching from one currency to another, there is a very symbolic meaning to this day because we are completing our integration to the core of Europe actually; that is really important for us and actually we set those goals already after regaining independence in 1991 and this last task of introducing Euro was the most complicated because we suffered quite severe crisis and just some years ago Latvia was the most complicated case for Europe.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Andris Vilks (In English) saying that: We are going to the Eurozone much better prepared and we are ahead of the cycle and we have very valuable experience which we are going to share with others; we have a very strong commitment and as I said to my colleagues we have strong spirit as well and we trust Europe and we trust Euro and that is very much up to us together haw to solve the problem to get Euro back to the better competitiveness to improve Europe as a global player.
||Speakers leaving the press room