Latvia joins euro zone

  • Latvia became the euro zone's 18th member on Tuesday.

    The Baltic nation will start using the currency from January 1, 2014.

    Following the announcement, Finance Minister Andris Vilks said: "In spite of today's somehow maybe not so good environment in the euro zone anyway, we are going forward. Because you know how important is this goal. 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."

    Latvia joins the euro zone at a troubled time and many are opposed to the move.

    According to polls, 40 percent of the country's population of 2 million do not want to switch currencies.

    Many also cherish their independence some two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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