Latvia will be using the Euro from 1 January 2014
At a meeting in Brussels on July 9, European Union finance ministers officially agreed to make Latvia the 18th member of the Eurozone. Latvia will start using the new currency on January 1, 2014.
1 lat = 1,423 EUR
The changeover to the euro as of 1 January 2014 will be based on the current exchange rate of the lats to the euro set by the Bank of Latvia, whereby each lats equals 1.423 euro. This exchange rate is well-known to the financial markets.
After the adoption of euro in Latvia, both lats and euros will be in circulation for two weeks, starting from 1 January 2014. In means that for two weeks after the euro adoption date, lats in cash can be spent on purchases, but change will be given back in euros.
From January 15 of 2014, only payments in euro will be accepted in Latvia. Salaries, pensions and welfare payments will also be paid out in euro.
Residents will be able to exchange lats for Euros without any commission for six months from January 2014 at commercial banks, and three months at “Latvijas Pasts” post offices in areas where there are no bank branches. However, at the Bank of Latvia anyone will be able to exchange lats for euros for an unlimited period of time.
Lats on bank accounts exchanged automatically and free of charge
As pointed out by commercial banks and official representatives, non-cash changeover will be the most convenient way of money exchange, because it will be done automatically and free of charge already on the euro changeover day.
In the beginning of June, the European Commission published its 2013 Convergence Report on Latvia. The Commission concludes that Latvia has achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence with the euro area and proposes that the Council decide on Latvia’s adoption of the euro as from 1 January 2014. Latvia’s upcoming adoption of the euro currency was supported and welcomed by other countries and their Heads of government and later also by European Parliament’s deputies.
The banknotes throughout the Eurozone are similar, however the reverse of the coins is chosen by each country separately. On the national side of the Latvian euro coins special Latvian symbols will be depicted. The design of the reverse of the Latvian euro coins was chosen at the all-Latvian competition of ideas.
After Latvia joins the Eurozone, Latvian Lat bills and coins will be taken out of circulation and destroyed.
„After very intensive work over a long period of time we have reached a major turning point in the history of Latvia and further integration of the European Union. Today we can say that Latvia has got green light for economic stability, safety and cooperation and has become effective and influential partner among EU Member States”, says the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Latvia Andris Vilks.
There are currently 17 member states in the euro area: Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Spain and Germany – in these countries the euro as the single currency was introduced in 2002; in 2007 euro was first issued for circulation in Slovenia, in 2008 – in Cyprus and Malta, in 2009 – in Slovakia and in 2011 – the euro currency was adopted by Estonia. Thus, Latvia will become the 18th country to use the euro.