From “ugly duckling” to nice swan: Latvia congratulated in Washington, DC on joining the Eurozone
Rahvusvahelised uudised 18 Jan 2014 JBANCEWR
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Lita Juberte Jan. 17, 2014
On January 16, the Delegation of the European Union to the United States in Washington, DC hosted a celebration in honor of Latvia’s adoption to the Eurozone. European Union Ambassador to the United States Joao Vale de Almeida said that it is good news for so many people – for people in Latvia, in Europe and also good news for the United States. He also added that it is one thing to get into Eurozone, but another to stay there under good conditions. He wished Latvia success with that.

Latvia’s Ambassador to the United States Andris Razans said in his remarks that Latvia can’t afford the luxury of not being part of the European project or part of European integration. He also added that it was Latvia`s strategic choice and joining the Eurozone means joining the very core of European Union integration. “Latvia, from a state in the EU periphery, moves to a very different political and strategic geography.”

Ambassador Razans also reminded those gathered that almost four years ago the American economist and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times that “in Latvia [things are worse]: real GDP down 18 percent. Latvia isn’t in the Eurozone. But its determination to keep a fixed exchange rate against the euros lies behind the catastrophe.”

To this, Latvia’s ambassador commented: “As you see, there is no catastrophe in Latvia. On the contrary, ‘the ugly duckling’ has turned into a nice young swan - by sticking to a fixed exchange rate, by cleaning its financial and budgetary mess without delay, by carrying out a package of crucial reforms that today nicely stimulates growth of exports and the economy in general. Joining the Eurozone was the very backbone of our revival.”

At the Euro adoption event, Latvia was also greeted by Daleep Singh – representative of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Uldis Rutkaste - Latvia’s representative at the International Monetary Fund, and Georges Pineau - European Central Bank permanent representative in Washington, DC. The speakers all highlighted the determination and willpower of the Latvian people and government and spoke about Latvia as an encouraging example. Latvia’s achievements in overcoming the crisis based on political solidarity, flexibility, and persistence were other positive attributes underscored by the speakers, who all wished Latvia success in the united currency area and within the EU in general.

Ambassador Razans concluded by thanking all Eurozone partners for their solidarity with Latvia and in displaying true European spirit in supporting Latvia’s transition into the core of the European project.

Members of the American Latvian Association and JBANC attended the event.

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