EU Member States continue to line up to join the euro area, despite the economic crisis. Latvia aims to join in January 2014, and Lithuania is also preparing to adopt the euro.
For an EU Member State to become part of the euro area, it must meet five economic convergence criteria, known as the Maastricht criteria. These targets deal with price stability, sound and sustainable public finances, exchange rate stability, and long-term interest rates that remain in close proximity with those of other euro nations.Latvia has worked hard to accomplish these objectives. Thanks in part to a financial assistance program led by the EU and the IMF, Latvia has emerged from the deep recession it experienced in 2008-2009 and now has the fastest GDP growth rate in the EU, as well as the EU’s second highest rate of export growth.Latvia has continued along the path of sound public finances and reforms to create the conditions necessary for sustainable growth and job creation in preparation for euro accession. The European Commission—the EU’s executive arm—is currently evaluating Latvia’s progress in satisfying the Maastricht criteria to determine whether it is eligible to join the euro area as of January 1, 2014.