European Affairs Committee: Introduction of euro in Latvia proceeded like clockwork


At its meeting on Wednesday, 8 January, the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima received reports from the institutions responsible for introducing the euro and concluded that the changeover had proceeded like clockwork and without substantial problems.

“During the last couple of days, we have got used to it and are already paying in euros as a matter of course. Thus I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Latvia, commercial banks, entrepreneurs, NGOs and municipalities for a job well done in order to make the introduction of the euro in Latvia a success,” said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Chairperson of the Committee. “I thank everyone for contributing their efforts to ensure a smooth transition, convenient for citizens and entrepreneurs, and as precise as a Swiss watch, or rather as a Latvian watch.”

Atis Lejiņš, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, also expressed gratification for the successful introduction of the euro: “The switchover is a complicated procedure, but everything went really smoothly. Many thanks to all the institutions involved, all the banks and residents of Latvia.”

The euro is being introduced successfully and without any commotion, pointed out Sanita Bajāre, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance. The euro is used for cash transactions much more than the lat, which means that people were well prepared for the parallel circulation of both currencies right from the start. For example, the ratio of cash transactions in euros was higher than during the same period in Estonia, noted Bajāre.

During the Committee meeting, Andris Ruselis, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Latvia, stressed that the secret of the successful switchover lies in the careful preparation process planned well in advance. For example, the euro introduction task force of the Bank of Latvia was established back in 2003, which enabled it to study thoroughly the experience of other countries that had introduced the euro. The key factor was close cooperation with the State Police, Latvian Post and especially credit institutions because that made the switchover process run smoothly and without needless snags, affirmed the Deputy Governor of the Bank.

The representative of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre stated that in carrying out more than 11 thousand checks in points of sale across Latvia, the Centre has identified some violations, but they are due mostly to human error. Retailers do cooperate with the Centre, and the number of violations has been decreasing from 50% in the beginning to 40% currently, reported the representative of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre.


Saeima Press Service

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