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Latvia starts process of applying for eurozone membership


08:51, March 06, 2013

BRUSSELS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Latvia has formally requested the European Commission to deliver an extraordinary convergence report with the aim of joining the eurozone at the start of next year, said a notice released by the Commission Tuesday.

The report is aimed at assessing if the country has achieved the five convergence criteria as defined in the Maastricht Treaty for joining the euro.

The criteria include a qualitative assessment of the structural sustainability of public finances in Latvia, including price stability, sound and sustainable public finance, durability of convergence and exchange rate stability.

Once accepted eurozone membership, Latvia may enjoy many advantages as stable price, more cross-border and international trade, more transparent and competitive market, lower travel cost, among others.

But an opinion poll held recently showed that two thirds of Latvian people did not want to use euro.

Oli Rehn, Vice President and Commissioner for economic and financial affairs, said the Commission would present the conclusion of assessment by late May or early June this year.

"Latvia's decision to request entry to the euro area shows how much progress the country has made in getting its economy back on track, following the very deep economic crisis of 2008-2009," Rehn said.

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