At midnight on the 1st January 2014, Latvia became the 18th country to join the euro currency.
The changeover has caused a mixture of emotions, with some opinion polls suggesting almost 60% of the population did not want to move to the euro currency. However, business owners as well as the government believe it will improve Latvia’s credit rating and attract foreign investors.
“It’s a big opportunity for Latvia’s economic development” Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister
“Euro brings stability and certainty, definitely attracting investment, so new jobs, new taxes and so on. So being in the second largest currency union I think will definitely mean more popularity.” Ilmars Rimsevics, Governor, Latvia Central Bank
At the time of the changeover, the fixed exchange rate of €1 = LVL 0.702804 according to the European Central Bank (ECB). For 2 weeks there will be a period where both currencies will circulate but the lats (the previous Latvian currency) will not be legal tender after the 15th January 2014.
Source: European Central Bank, various online sources