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Latvia applies to join the eurozone

Latvia applies to join the eurozone
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Latvia’s government has applied to join the eurozone next year.

The Baltic country would become the 18th nation to become part of the single currency zone, which has been mired in crisis for the past four years.

Guntram Wolf, from the Bruegel Institute think-tank, said: “Latvia has made very significant progress in terms of adjusting its economy, getting ahead of the curve, being competitive.”

He added that “the chances are quite good” of the European Commission giving a positive verdict for Latvia to join this year.

The European Central Bank is also involved in making the evaluation, expected to be released in June.

“I think it is a good signal that countries are still interested in joining the eurozone despite all difficulties in the eurozone, I would take it as positive news,” said Wolf.

Latvia’s currency, the lat, has been pegged to the euro since 2005.

Opinion polls say nearly two-thirds of the population are against joining the single currency.

The appetite for adopting the euro has waned across much of eastern Europe after a series of sovereign bailouts that began with Greece in 2009.