President Barroso: Latvia's euro entry positive sign for EU economy
President Barroso has welcomed Latvia's entry to the euro area on 1 January as a positive signal – both for Latvia and the EU.
During a visit to Riga with Vice-President Rehn on 10 January, President Barroso said: "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Latvia for this major achievement, which was made possible through the impressive efforts and unwavering determination of the Latvian authorities and the Latvian people, to whom I pay tribute."
During the one-day visit to mark Latvia's euro membership, President Barroso held a joint meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, after which he told the gathered press that Latvia was a "shining example to other member states that it is possible to come out the other side of the crisis stronger", and that its accession to the euro area is "a sign of confidence in our common currency".
"Not long ago, people were predicting the euro's demise. Latvia's membership shows that the euro remains attractive and open to those that meet the required conditions," he said. "In a year when voters go to the polls in the European elections we must remind our citizens of the benefits of a united Europe – and also of the dangers of disunity."
He also took the opportunity to welcome the economic turnaround, and predicted 2014 would see Europe "turn the page" on the crisis. However, he warned against complacency.
"While we should acknowledge the positive, we must resist the temptation to think our work is done," he said. "This is exactly the moment to keep up the reform drive, when we can see that it is starting to pay off."
President Barroso also gave a speech at the solemn ceremony on the introduction of the euro in Latvia, highlighting the influence Latvia now has as a euro area member.