Latvia Joins Eurozone

Today, 1st January 2014, Latvia joins the Eurozone, becoming the 18th country which uses the Euro as its currency. The small country struggled financially during the economic crises, however it is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.

Being a former Soviet republic, Latvia has relied greatly on Russia, but the incorporation of the Euro is expected to reduce this dependency and gain greater financial independence – credit ratings (an estimate of the ability of a country to fulfil their financial commitments, based on previous dealings) should increase and more foreign investors are expected to be attracted. Olli Rehn, the EU Commissioner, said joining the eurozone marked “the completion of Latvia’s journey back to the political and economic heart of our continent, and that is something for all of us to celebrate”.

Olli Rehn, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Valdis Dombrovskis

Despite this, opinion polls have suggested approximately 60% of Latvians do not want the Euro. One Latvian, Zaneta Smirnova, said she is “against the euro” and that they should have kept the Lat. But, the governor of the Latvian central bank, Ilmars Rimsevics, said the “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.”

What do you think about Latvia joining the Euro?

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The Lisbon Treaty

When Was The Lisbon Treaty Signed?

It was signed on 1st December 2009, thus ending several years of negotiation about institutional issues.

What Was It?

The Lisbon Treaty amends the current European Union and European Commission, without replacing them. It provides the Union with the legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and to respond to citizens’ demand.

What Did The Lisbon Treaty Include?

1) A more democrat and transparent Europe – a strengthened role for the European parliament and national parliaments with more opportunities for the citizens to have their voices heard and a clearer sense of who does what at European and national level

2) A more efficient Europe – simplified working methods and voting rules. Also, streamlined and modern institutions for an EU of 27 members and an improved ability to act in areas of major priority for today’s union

3) A Europe of rights and values, freedom, solidarity and security – Promote the union’s values, introducing the Charter of Fundamental Rights into European primary law, providing for new solidarity mechanisms and ensuring better protection of citizens

4) Europe as an actor on the global stage – bring together Europe’s external policy tools, both when developing and deciding new policies. The treaty should give Europe a clear voice in relations with its partners worldwide. It harnesses Europe’s economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic strengths to promote European interests and values worldwide, while respecting the particular interests of the Member States in Foreign Affairs

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