Dombrovskis looks back on ten years of the euro in Latvia

Latvia's European Commissioner, Valis Dobrovskis, was center stage January 26 at a special event to mark ten years of the euro being Latvia's official currency.

It was Dombrovskis himself who laid much of the groundwork for Latvia's euro adoption course while serving as Prime Minister from 2004-2014 and at Friday's event he was able to look back with a good deal of satisfaction.

"When Latvia was discussing the idea of joining the euro, we were just emerging from the global financial and economic crisis. Back then, there were many sceptics. Some of them claimed that Latvia was buying the last ticket to the Titanic," he told the '10 years of the euro in Latvia' conference in Rīga.

"'However, our determination to join the euro provided a solid policy anchor at a time of great economic stress for the country. Latvia had entered the crisis as one of the most overheated economies in the world, with lax fiscal policy and unrestrained bank lending. Preparing for euro entry also helped us to set out a major reform agenda which was badly needed," he said.

Euro adoption has "provided a significant incentive for economic development," he claimed, saying that according to Eurostat, between 2013 and 2022, Latvia's GDP per capita rose by 10 percentage points to around 73% of the EU average while labor productivity has increased by 12 percentage points to 75% of the EU average.

"Since the euro was introduced, a clear majority of Latvians believe that having the euro is a good thing for their country, and good for Europe as well," he stated.

"For the Baltic States, and I hope that my Estonian and Lithuanian colleagues would agree, adopting the euro was a watershed moment. It was not just about raising economic efficiency and promoting trade and investment. We also had a strong political motivation to be more closely integrated in the core of the European Union and the democratic world. For Latvia, it sealed our full membership of the European family, tying us into its values, rights and freedoms," Dombrovskis said.

"With the hindsight of history, it is clear that we were right to think as we did, after regaining independence to work towards joining the EU and NATO – as a matter of urgency.

"When I was Prime Minister, I had to oversee a major adjustment program. Our country went through significant economic and social pain. But we came out stronger. And one lesson was clear: we had to join the euro. This was one of my key priorities at the time. I am proud that Latvia – Estonia and Lithuania as well – have become fully participating members of the ‘euro family'. It serves the Baltic region well. And we hope that we serve it well in return," he said.


Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important