Sunday, December 29, 2013

Laimīgu Jauno Gadu! Latvia Switches to Euro on 1 January 2014

The European Central Bank (ECB) reports that Latvia joins the Euro currency as the 18th member of the Euro area on January 1, 2014.

The Latvian currency, the Lats (LVL), ceases to be legal tender on January 15, 2014.

The fixed exchange rate is € 1.00 = LVL 0.702804, which is equivalent to ca. 1 Lat to 1.42 Euros.

In Latvia

Latvian post offices will exchange the old money until March 31, 2014 while normal banks will exchange the old currency until June 30, 2014. In addition, the country's central bank, the Latvijas Banka, i.e. the Bank of Latvia, will exchange unlimited amounts of LVL currency (notes and coins) for an indefinite period into the future.

Outside of Latvia in the Euro Area

Outside of Latvia, Euro area national central banks (NCBs) will exchange Latvian banknotes in amounts limited to €1000 for any given party/transaction on any one day until February 28, 2014.

General Comment

Although the shift from the Latvian lat to the Euro area currency is not massively popular among the Latvian populace, the fact is that "Latvia has, for all practical purposes, been part of the euro zone since joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 2005." (WSJ)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Models of Economic Recovery: A Fistful of Euros Asks: As Good As It Gets In Latvia?

What are the essential elements for economic recovery?

This is a question that can be asked regarding the arguably complete economic recovery in Latvia over the last 3 years.

A Fistful of Euros in fact asks:

As Good As It Gets In Latvia?

Dual Citizenship Permitted in Latvia under Amendments Effective 1 October 2013

Amendments to the Citizenship Law of the Republic of Latvia have now made it officially possible under given circumstances for emigrated Latvian "nationals" or their descendants to obtain dual citizenship.

Previously, there was a requirement that a previously existing citizenship in another country had to be relinquished to obtain Latvian citizenship.

See the details at News in Assistance obtaining dual citizenship in Latvia.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Latvian Neighbor Estonia Draws Raves at The Economist for being a Baltic Corporate Tech Capital

Schumpeter raves about Estonia at The Economist in Estonia's technology cluster: Not only Skype. Here is a sample:
"IT TAKES just five minutes to register a firm in Estonia.... Estonia holds the world record in start-ups per person — a sizeable feat considering that the country has only 1.3m people....
Estonia may be too small to become anything like Europe’s Silicon Valley, but it certainly has a shot at being the EU’s Delaware, the state where most of America’s technology firms are incorporated."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Latvia as an Economic Role Model for Europe?

Can Latvia be a role model for reforms in Europe?
is a headline at the English-language German Deutsche Welle.

EURO to Replace the LAT: Latvia to Become 18th Eurozone Member Starting January 1, 2014

The beleaguered Euro is given a lift as Latvia gets formal OK to join the euro, hopes it will bring growth despite economic problems. Latvia will formally join the Eurozone on January 1, 2014 thus making it the 18th member, as reported by the AP via the Washington Post.

Recall, with newly added Croatia, that the European Union now has 28 members, of which 10, after Latvia, will still retain their own currency. It is no surprise that economic and monetary union in the EU is taking a slow pace. Given European history, the surprise is that it is working at all.

We live in Germany and fly to Latvia regularly and are always puzzled by the apparent bias of some news reports about the Baltic and the European Union that can be read in the USA and elsewhere.

Rather than celebrating the tremendous changes and improvements that have been made in Russia and the former Soviet Union nations, there are many commentators who seem to prefer an Armageddon stance on Europe.

Contrary to reports and articles during recent years by persons who should know better, the Euro is not disintegrating and Europe is still alive and kicking.

There are of course problems, so what is new about that?
Life is a constant stream of problems -- and, ideally, solutions.

At the same time, there are new frontiers out there for Western democracy and capitalism, and almost all of those frontiers are in the East.

The countries there are developing their own versions of more liberal government and economic models than they had before, and these are, in spite of difficulties, far better than what existed not too long ago behind the Iron Curtain.

The CHANGE is remarkable. A functioning capitalist system and a political democracy are not forged in a day. A vibrant economy is dependent on the achievement of many long-term objectives that are essential economic factors.

People need to exercise reasonable patience in the amount of improvement that can by expected.

In any case, the conversion to the Euro should boost Latvia economically.

See also: Euro get 18th Member: tiny Latvia, at CNN Money.

We cite particularly to that article because it shows how subtle some of the Stateside bias against Europe can be. Latvia is not "tiny". Rather, it encompasses an area of 24,938 square miles, which would rank it 40th among American states and just above West Virginia with 24,230 square miles, but more than twice as large OR MORE in terms of area than each of the States of Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, or Rhode Island. Hence, Latvia is small in comparison to larger States of the USA or as judged by the size of nations, but it is by no means "tiny". Correctly, as far as Latvia is concerned, "small" is beautiful.

Hat tip to C.Z.

The Land That Sings: Latvian Song and Dance Festival 2013

As reported at e.g. The Land That Sings the

XXV Latvian National Song and Dance Festival
as organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia
took place in Riga and ended this past Sunday, July 7, 2013.

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