- Title: BELGIUM: Euro zone welcomes Latvia into club still in crisis
- Date: 9th July 2013
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JULY 9, 2013) (REUTERS) LITHUANIAN FINANCE MINISTER RIMANTAS SADZIUS APPROACHING JOURNALISTS
- Embargoed: 24th July 2013 13:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: European Union,Economy,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAPNKKX5IN5JH8R6MTAR534IDE
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The euro zone embraced the small state of Latvia as its newest member on Tuesday (July 9), eager to show that the bloc is not disintegrating while doubts remain about southern Europe's ability to overcome more than three years of crisis.
On January 1, 2014, Latvia will become the second baltic state to adopt the euro after Estonia in 2011.
Upon his arrival at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks said joining the euro zone would bring positive economic prospects to his country.
"It's a very important anchor for very small and open economies, especially when neighbours are already having the euro. I mean Finland, Estonia and Lithuania have joined, so we are very, very confident in the euro," Vilks said.
Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius, whose country is set to join in 2015, said the addition of its neighbour Latvia to the euro currency club is a sign of the viability of the bloc's economic model.
"It is already like a common knowledge that Latvians will have euro from January 1 of 2014 but I think this is really the proof that European economic model is viable, that European project is viable and we must put all our efforts to improve the conditions and this is important not only for us, Europeans, but I think for the whole world as well," Sadzius said.
Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the Eurogroup, said Latvia's adoption of the European single currency was the result of the country's efforts to reform its economy and financial sector.
"Latvia has done very well in reforming its economy, getting financial sector back on track. They have done very, very well in economic terms so they comply to all the criteria and I welcome them very much to the euro zone," Dijsselbloem said.
Dijsselbloem said he welcomed the return of trust to the single currency but warned a lot of work remained to be done before the bloc emerges from the crisis.
"Except for a few countries, all the EU members will eventually also introduce the euro. This is part of the treaty. And on your question whether the euro is out of the crisis, I think we've shown a lot of progress on different issues, a lot more stability in the financial market and regaining of trust in the euro. Yet, we have still a lot of work to do, on the banking union, on structural reforms, getting out of the crisis is not something that can be done within a couple of months," Dijsselbloem said.
Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter also said more work was need to guarantee the stability of the euro, adding stability should be the basis for growth.
On Monday, euro zone finance ministers agreed to unlock billions of euros in fresh aid for bailed-out Greece on condition it keep its promises on cutting public sector jobs and selling state assets to get all the cash.
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