News Summary: Latvia gets go-ahead to use euro


JOINING THE CLUB: European Union finance ministers officially agreed to make Latvia the 18th member of the eurozone currency union. The Baltic state, which will start using the currency on Jan. 1, hopes joining the euro will bring investment and development, even though the eurozone is experiencing low growth and high unemployment.

WEAK RECEPTION: Polls suggest that less than half the Latvian population supports the idea, so the government plans a campaign to explain both the reasons behind the move.

PRACTICAL REASONS: Latvia's prime minister said the euro would reduce currency conversion costs for the tiny country, attract foreign investment and bring more development. He said 70 percent of Latvia's foreign trade is already done in euros.

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